Saturday, November 15, 2008

The story continues...

Details of Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We were picked up at our apartment at 9:30 AM. The other couple that is also here went in a different car than us, but we all ended up at the Department of Education, DOE. On our way, another driver motioned that there was something wrong with one of our tires. We pulled over and the tire was low. When we got to the DOE, we sat in the van with the other family while our drivers changed the tire on the car we were in. After about 20 minutes, our translator got there and we all went into the DOE. We enter into a waiting room and there are other people waiting. We waited about 30 minutes, then our translator took us to an office in the back. We walked into a room with 4 women behind 2 desks. I was expecting one woman. We sat down and they asked us to tell them about ourselves. Ryan said where he worked and that I stay at home and would with the our new child. They asked if we had any children currently. We told them about Kiara and they asked if she was excited to have a sister, which we told them that she was. Ryan was then smart enough to pull out a picture of Kiara he had in his wallet. I think they really liked that. They passed her picture around and were smiling and nodding their heads. Then, one lady passed us a white sheet of paper with Russian printed on it and a small black and white picture with the face of a child. It was our daughter and we couldn’t believe she had light hair! They told us that she turned 1 on 10/16/07 and she has red hair. The picture we were seeing was when she was 5 months old. We went back to the lobby while the other family went in to get their referrals. Then, we were off to the orphanage.

Since our child was sick with a cold and in the hospital, we went to the orphanage first to go over all the medical and legal paperwork in her file. We were able to speak with the orphanage doctor and we learned that she is pretty healthy and has only had colds and respiratory infections. She does have rickets which is a Vitamin D deficiency and is pretty common in orphans. She also has 12 teeth. We learned that she was put into orphanage care 2 weeks after she was born and brought to her current orphanage in January 2008.

Next, we were off to the hospital to try and see Vera. The drive between the orphanage and the hospital was over an hour because they are on opposite sides of town. We weren’t for sure when we left the orphanage if we would be allowed to see Vera. You could tell this doesn’t happen all the time because our driver had never been to this hospital and then had to ask the guard at the front of the hospital where to go. The hospital is made of 2 big buildings. The building that is in front looks newer. We walk to the back building and all the way around to the back of that building. In the middle of the back of the building there is a door that kind of looks like an entrance. The door looks like it is about to fall off of its hinges. We go through what looks like an antique medal detector. I go through with 2 bags full of stuff and no alarm goes off, so I think it might have just been there for looks. There is a tiny 80 year old, sweet looking security guard sitting at an old desk to our left when we walk in. Our driver speaks to him in Russian and finds out that the woman we need the permission from is in a meeting. So, we wait. The security guard came over to me and started talking to me in Russian. I tell him I only know English and can tell that he is amused that he thought I was Russian.
By this time in the day, it is probably 3:30 PM and I have not gone the bathroom all day. If you know me, this is quite a feat! So, I ask our driver if there is a bathroom and he kind of cringes and looks around and then looks behind a door. He points at the door and says, “Don’t be too scared.” It was probably one of the nastiest bathrooms I have been in! It smelled worse than a port a potty and it was very dirty. The toilet doesn’t have a seat, it didn’t look like it had been cleaned in a very long time, and it isn’t supplied with any paper goods. At least I had come prepared for a situation like this with my Cottonelle moist wipes. So, of course I squat to do my business and I hadn’t realized how bad I had to go. My thighs got a great workout!

When I am done, I go out and sit in the “waiting room” and observe everything around me while we wait. To the right of where we came in the building there is a desk with a nurse sitting at it facing the rest of the room. There is nothing on the desk except for a phone and whenever she uses it, she talks VERY loudly. To her right is door to what seems to be a closet with another nurse who has the key to the closet. People were coming in the door we came in with plastic bags full of stuff and giving it to her. She would either put it in the closet or put it in her metal shopping cart, like you get at the grocery store, and take it over to the elevator and disappear with it. She would come back with an empty cart and continue accepting more bags. There were others in the waiting area. Some just sat there the whole time we were there, one had what looked like a female doctor with someone’s file come out and talk to her, and some would come and talk to the nurse at the desk and then wait, and the others were waiting to give their bags to the other nurse. On our way out of the hospital, our driver explained that families can bring bags of food, drink and supplies to those staying in the hospital. A lot of times, patients can’t be seen by people because they are contagious.

After about 30 minutes of waiting, somehow the security guard knew that we had permission to see Vera. We go over to the closet nurse and give her our coats, which she puts in the closet. Then, we had to pay 30 Rubles for the 3 of us to get blue booties to put over our shoes. So, we get in the elevator and 4 people can barely fit, especially with all our bags. It is the scariest elevator I have been on, very rickety. I remember the lady pushing 4, but then it stopped on 3 and we got out. No idea why. Once we get on the floor it looks more of what we would think a hospital looks like. There is a main desk and a hallway with doors that I am assuming lead to hospital rooms. We walk just a bit down the hall and there is a little nook of a waiting area. There are probably 8 chairs that make a U with a coffee table in front of the chairs. We sit down. There is a nurse on one end holding a little girl on her lap. We sit there a bit and I kind of wonder if this is Vera, but the child has strawberry blonde hair and we had only seen a 5 month old picture of her head. Finally, someone says this one is yours! So, we turn in her direction and talk to her a bit. I wasn’t sure what we were suppose to do, so I stand up and make a gesture to see if I can hold her and the nurse says “Niet”, which is no. Our driver tells us that the nurse will hold her the whole time.

She looks like the tiniest thing ever with short strawberry blond hair and beautiful blue eyes. We had been told that she was fragile and very sensitive.
Vera seemed very serious and cautious of us and wasn’t very interested in the toys I had brought. She would just stare at me and not even look at the toy I was holding. The nurse said to the driver that Vera seemed to be more interested in the woman than the toy. The nurse also told us that in the hospital, Vera is in a room by herself. She stands in her crib and when the nurses go to leave, she tries to get them to stay because she doesn’t want to be alone. It makes me so sad, I wish I could stay with her in the hospital. I was starting to run out of things to do. The nurse takes my hand and has me touch her. I hadn’t done that because I wasn’t sure if I was allowed! She is extra cautious of Ryan and whenever he talked, she would look at him with a very serious look on her face. Ryan is probably one of the first men she has seen since entering the orphanage since all the workers, doctors and nurses are usually women. I finally get Vera to pat my hand when I hold it in front of her, then I would say “Yaaaa” and clap. She liked that so we would do it over and over. She then started touching my face. It was so sweet. It was kind of like she knew I was her mommy. She was very alert and aware of everything. If there was any sound or a person walking by, she always had to look to see what was happening. She seemed to know her name really well. She patted on the table a little bit, so I would do that too and she would follow my pattern.
After about 30 minutes, a tall blonde woman comes out of an office across the hall from us and tells us our time is up. The time went so quick! I couldn’t believe it was over already. Ryan hadn’t been able to touch her yet, so I ask him if he wants to touch her. As he goes to do that, she reaches out and touches his hand, very sweet. We will get to see her tomorrow, but they aren’t sure if she will be back in the orphanage or not. We pray she is in the orphanage so we can have a better visit with her and get a better idea what she can and can’t do.

We ride back down the elevator and have to wait by the closet with our coats for about 15 minutes because the nurse is no where to be found. Finally, the security guard miraculously has the key. Then, we drive an hour to our apartment.

Soon after we got back to our apartment we were able to call Kiara and show her pictures of her sister and tell her happy birthday. She thought Vera was cute, but was also ready to open her birthday present. We were able to see each other on web cams, so it was nice to be able to see her open some of her gifts on her birthday.

Then, we headed over to Old Arbat to find some dinner. We went in a few sovenior shops and then found MyMy, prounounce Moo Moo. It is a Russian restaurant that is cafeteria style. Luckily, we could point at things and they would try to explain what it was. I got something that looked like baked chicken, but it ended up being stuffed with something, but it was really good. Ryan got some type of meatloaf that he thought was pretty good, too.
When we got back to the apartment, we plotted the numbers we were given for Vera on growth charts. We didn’t have many points to plot because we couldn’t read the copies we were given by the doctor of her measurements. The ones we plotted weren’t the best, so we were a little concerned. I emailed the numbers I had to a friend that had adopted twice from Russia. She was traveling, but able to communicate with me from her phone. Her husband was nice enough to input Vera’s numbers into an Excel program they had and send it to me. Her recommendation was to have her checked out by the international adoption doctor that I had lined up in Washington State mainly because of her head circumference numbers. The Adoption Center specializes in evaluating referrals for FAS. Ryan and I had agreed that this would probably be one of the few things that would make us turn down a referral. I wasn’t too concerned about FAS and wanted to get a better look at her the next day and take the pictures necessary for the doctors if we decided to use them.

I can’t believe the day I have been waiting for, for over a year an a half has finally happened. It wasn’t anything like I pictured it, but it was a great day. At the beginning of our journey, we started off thinking we would adopt from Uzbekistan and thought we would be taking one trip of a week, now we will take 2 trips and one will be 3 weeks long. I envisioned my child with dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. She has light skin, strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. I thought we would be able to leave with our child after meeting her and now we have to leave her behind. Also, I never thought I would be meeting my child in a hospital. It has been exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, and stressful seeing how God had led us on this journey. Now, He has led us to the perfect child for our family. I can’t wait to bring her home!


Jennie said...

Wow Nichole! Thanks for all the details. What an exciting time for all of you. She is adorable. I am sure there are so many emotions going through you right now. Keep writing it all down and of course scrap booking! We are praying for you guys!

Holli said...

Love the details! Love you all! Hope you are sleeping well soon and enjoy them before "baby" Vera comes home!:)

Holli said...

oh when will you find out when you travel next and about your visas?

Amy said...

Congrats and welcome home! She's a cutie!!!

Hope you had a wonderful trip and are getting some good time with Kiara!!

Ute said...

Nichole, thank you for the details. I so recognize Christophers adoption in all these little episodes.

I have to give you a call soon - but for now, relaxe and enjoy Kiara:)