June 1, 2005

I apologize if I am just “rambling on” about the same scenarios daily, but if you were here, you would actually see the small steps we see her taking and feel in the initial bonding process of a child to the parents. I can feel this little girl’s love and interest in us forming and there is nothing like it.

I figure, when you have bio children they don’t know what’s happening, but a 2-3 year old has emotions, reactions and expressions that make this all the more exciting. So I will ramble on mainly because I want her to see this many years from now when we are gone and know just how and why we fell in love with her.
Okay party day. The music room was decorated simply with some balloons, ribbons, hand colored cut-outs of birds hanging from the ceiling, some stuffed animals and a treat table set up. There were about 20 visitors there including 2 local guys who played the traditional Kazakh guitar and the other an accordion. The guitar player was Kazakhstan’s version of Elvis! He had the long sideburns, (the hair...oh the hair, I could only wish) and the general look of coolness. We arrived earlier than usual about 9:30 The children were in their room “on their pots” and getting dressed. Aidana came out to get dressed and we went into the room to wait for the start. In they marched, all in pretty party dresses and hair bows, Aidana’s in pigtails using the bands we brought. They sang, put on a puppet show and played small games. Aidana was shy at first but warmed up as we could see her in the crowd swaying and moving to the music. It’s funny; she would look over to us every once in a while and get shy again. I was taking videos as she danced and moved for a better view. She saw me and immediately “went shy” and moved into the crowd. I don’t think she quite knows how to act around us but she is becoming more open in little ways daily. We brought fruit and some cookies for the treats. When the time came to sit, she was right there. I think she has already picked up my love of food!

In Kazakhstan you don't "tip" people, you pretty much "say" thank you with small gifts, you "say" help me with a small gift, you "say" please with a small gift, you hope your paperwork or court dates get processed quickly with a small "gift" you get our meaning. Good thing I am the "over-dooer" that Marie says I am because we originally thought there were about 20 caregivers besides the 4-5 head people. Well, it turns out there were 38 caregivers! We managed to have something for everyone. The "beach style" bags Marie brought were the biggest hit of all. Everyone seems to walk around with plastic bags to carry their things in. Now the caregivers will do it in style! We also brought perfume, Chicago tee shirts, candy, makeup, jewelry etc. Now we have 4 huge suitcases to manage home. Marie thinks she is slipping an 8'x10' Kazakhstan rug in one of them.
In the afternoon session we played “Barbie’s” she loves them. After a while, Habiba suggested she should go into the yard with the others and get some fresh air. We walked her down. I don't think that this happened much before with adoptive parents but the caregivers let us go into the yard with them and the excitement started. I started making barking dog sounds and the kids just flipped. I made popping sounds with my mouth and it was as if I was from another planet, they laughed and laughed. Marie was hugging some kids and Aidana actually barged her way in and gave Marie the biggest hug and kiss she has ever received. I guess she may have been jealous that Marie was paying attention to other children or she just saw that it was okay to do this as the others were doing it?
Anyways, her attitude began to change towards us. I started giving the kids horsey-back rides and they went nuts again. She started climbing on the monkey bars and I tickled her stomach and she actually started laughing hysterically. Her smiles went ear to ear and sort of caught me off guard; I called to Marie to see. I have never seen her put her guard down, but it was great. Wait until you hear her voice, I cannot describe it but it is deep and I just love it. Earlier in the music room she did say a few words to me.

We wrapped up the yard session and said our good-byes. The children run the edge of the yard to see us off and always scream “Aidana’s poppa has machinia” (car) This is a big deal here. (I have been using it to shuffle us around with Habiba while her husband Idar is out of town) Habiba says the caregivers do not know what to make of this, a foreigner having a car in Arkalyk?

Counting the days….

Paka paka
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