June 5, 2005 Day 11

What an interesting morning. Lisa and Gene arrived this morning. The other American couple adopting a child here also. Fresh off the train from Astana after 2 days of traveling from Georgia, USA Nothing against the Kazakhstan people but, Americans, hooray!!! They are staying in the room across from us at Habibas. From the little time we have spent with them, they are very nice, warm people. I think with them being here it will make our days go faster. We have so much to talk about. I’m sure we talked their ears off at breakfast but it felt good to share our travel experiences and hear words I could understand without first having to think about.

We left for the baby house just before 10am; you could see some nervousness and excitement on their faces just as we must have looked on our first day. When we waked in, Marie and I went to the other room where the kids were. Lisa and Gene had to wait in the music room to first talk to Albena (the director) before being introduced to Katia. From where we were at, I saw Katia across the room on the potty and tried to “sign” to her by pointing and mouthing the words “your momma and poppa” and I began pointing to the next room. I knew she didn’t understand me but, what a feeling I had. I felt so good that they were here and that another child would feel what I prayed Aidana began to feel. Katia has been waiting such a long time for “momma and poppa” and today was HER day!
I then motioned to her caregiver that “Katia’s momma and poppa” were outside and she immediately took Katia off to put her in her best dress and fix her hair. I could see she was very excited for this little girl as she has been around Katia for most of her life. We take for granted that these caregivers are just doing their jobs, but I know they must go through a grieving period once a child is gone as they have been the only mother most of these children have ever known. I have developed a great respect for these women.
Katia is probably one of the most affectionate, open and fun-loving girls I have met here, she is always the first to run to me, sit on my lap, mumble a few sentences in Russian and then kiss my cheek. I was so curious as to what her response would be once she was on the “other side” of the affection from her momma and poppa. I could hardly wait.

As Katia sat in a chair at the table dressed in her nicest dress, her hair all made up, I could see that Katia’s mood was beginning to change. She had been to this point, literally just minutes ago, a child that I have known to be the bubbliest, happiest and most secure child in the baby house. I could not understand what the caregiver actually said to her, but I knew it was about her momma and poppa being here. As she sat there, you could see a “mood” of shyness come over her, her eyes fixed straight ahead, almost staring into space and thinking. Almost as if the life was “drained out of her”.
It amazes us that at the moment all of these children have been waiting so long for, catches them so off guard that it puts them into this “fearful” like state, maybe it’s a “self-protection” mode as if this were a dream or something. Not really sure what was going to happen next. We may never really know as they are usually too small to relate to or even remember this life-changing moment. Most of them have seen this happen to other children that have left and they are never seen again. I’m sure the only answer given to them when asking where they are, is that they went with their momma and poppa. I just couldn’t believe the change in her attitude. As I looked at her, she looked at me as if she had never seen me before, just so unlike her.
If anything could have come from witnessing this “change” in Katia it is that we now understand more about what Aidana is going through, it is just not her or just not her “problem” as we thought it was. It is more of a “universal” feeling of shyness and not just something with her.

I have become such an emotional “baby” since this trip. The littlest thing could and has set me to tears, I feel so alive around these children as their affections just make me melt. Their feelings are so free, unconditional and they just seem to be so grateful for just any little attention shown to them. I don’t know how I will return home not thinking of each one of their little faces everyday in my head, wondering what their future holds, how they are doing and if they have been chosen. I know I will leave a big part of my heart in this country and I will forever be tied to these forgotten children. If this site or any actions we could do, make one person adopt a child, from here, America, wherever, I will be eternally honored.

I went into the music room where Lisa and Gene were chatting with Albena, they returned to the couch and Albena left the room to get Katia. I asked if they would like me to take a few digital pictures of their first meeting so we could email them to their family right away and they were more than happy to allow me.
I felt honored to stand and watch these first emotions of love being expressed by these two caring people, I could see the tears in their eyes as they first saw her. It was so strange, I instantly felt exactly the same as I did when we were introduced to Aidana. Just this overwhelming feeling of joy as I knew this little girl’s life was to change forever, I could hardly hold back my tears, I saw Marie across the room holding Aidana and she too was in tears. What an experience, to witness this first meeting of the hearts from the outside looking in. It was as if I had just been re-introduced to Aidana all over again, It didn’t matter that that it was a different girl, or a different momma and poppa standing there, I felt so wrapped up in their joy. I was overwhelmed to tears. I wish everyone could feel what I have felt in the past week, it truly is life changing.
Okay, just so you guys don’t think Marie and me have just turned to total mush out here, Mr. and Mrs emotion. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE OTHER DAY…We were walking to the store for water sort of having a heated discussion about a certain ice cream cone I was formally told I couldn’t have. Each of us were walking on opposite sides of the road from each other as Marie was reminding me how well she remembers the “seedier” side of the English language! And quite loudly! I felt so at home! By the time we left the store, I was enjoying that certain ice cream cone, as she proceeded to march in front of me all the way home. But seriously, we have never enjoyed each others company as much as we have here. We laugh, we cry, we joke…

Let me tell you about the “little miss attitude” afternoon

I guess Aidana is feeling more comfortable with us. Her true personality is beginning to emerge, and what a strong one “little miss attitude” has. I had brushed her hair after which she was playing with the brush I had to take it to put it away and she through a fit. She threw herself on the floor. We are finding her to be a little bit more stubborn then we thought. But, that’s okay, we love her just the same.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the yard with all the kids. Bill finally got to break out his case of Pop Rocks, they really enjoyed them leaving them all a laughing sticky mess!
For dinner tonight, we had a traditional Kazakh barbecue. We sat outside, ate the best chicken we have ever tasted and as traditional follows, had to make several toasts with Russian Vodka. If you know Bill, you know I had to drink his too.

Wow Caryn, Marie does have other friends...
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