Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Trip to Tokmok

Today we had another visit with Ellie. Our driver, Victor, must have thought our pick up time was 9:30 as he was late. Aliya, Elizabeth and Bill went on ahead, which we were fine with. It sprinkled on the way there and we were concerned it might rain.

We took her some formula, a couple of pacifiers and a photo book of us for her crib. She was asleep during our entire visit today. She did take to her new pacifier. When I went in to meet with Tatiana to see if we had any questions (we don't right now), she said yesterday (when we weren't allowed to visit), she went in around our visitation time, and Ellie was crying. She picked her up and took her outside to walk around and she stopped. When she put her back down, she cried again. I think that's a good sign she either likes us or likes the attention.

Apparently, the little peanut is already getting spoiled. When she comes home, I'm going to get a sling to wear her for a long time. Of course, if Josh is home, I'll have to fight for her. If Kevin is there, I suppose it will be a three way fight. We might have to resort to rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to hold her. Do you think she'll be spoiled????

Speaking of spoiled, I got an email from my friend Carla who indicates she has gotten her a BOX of clothes ranging in size from 3-18 months. I suspect you may never see the girl in the same outfit either. Since she wears the same one for several days in a row here, that will be a change for her, I suppose. She is always clean, however, and the clothing is not stained. I truly feel they take very good care of the children here.

We also got to give her her bottle today. She slurped it down quickly but this girl DOES NOT burp. Other adoptive parents who are there say that their babies don't either. I think they are getting the food so quickly, there just aren't any air bubbles. Josh, ever the good brother, even tried showing her how it was done. :-)

Speaking of other adoptive parents, it has been so nice spending time with I, K and now K (from Nashville, too). I can't post names right now as there is some sort of "thing" going on (that we all think is crazy). I can't elaborate any more than that, even on a private blog, at this time. BUT... we really are enjoying putting faces to the names of people we've emailed with for so long. I've LOVED getting to love on their babies as well.

Anyway... enough of all that, here's what you really came for -- your Ellie photo fix. Please note, if you will, that her outfit today (picked out by and belonging to the orphanage is an ELLIE-Phant!! Do we need any more confirmation that this peanut belongs in our family??).

(yes, she is peeking out at me as I rub her head!)

She almost had her eyes open here, but I guess it was too much to do.

Love the bunny ears on the elephant outfit. She looked like a little pink bear in it. When she gets frustrated from us trying to switch "holders" or from us really trying to wake us up, she arches her back, makes these funny faces and makes a grunting noise.
We were also told today that we should do everything we can to make sure Kevin is the person who returns with me. One parent will need to stay with the baby when official government appointments are held. Aliya indicated that while they would stay with the baby it would be better if Kevin could come. We also realized that our I171H is in HIS name and so in order to get her paperwork done, HE has to be the one who appears. So.... it looks like we are going to have Kevin come back. We have a few options in mind for Joshua, but nothing worked out as we have to ask around. He's not upset as we have talked to him about it. He's hoping that sometime while we are gone, he'll get to go fishing with his DeeDee. Somehow, that makes everything ok. We are not sure about Kevin's vacation yet and will have to check on that and/or sick leave to make sure he has enough time, but apparently, it is a have-to situation. I did have an offer from my friend Jennifer to travel with me and we were working on the details when this came about.
We are hoping to go back to the Metro this afternoon for dinner. We are needing our American fix. While we love our visitation time with Ellie, this is a LONG time to be in a hotel room and in a different country. We hope, when we leave, we will be back in about 8 weeks (56 days, but who's counting??). We should get Ellie the day after we arrive and she will be with us from then on. We anticipate she will go before the court system here the week of June 30. After court, it is a 30 day waiting period, followed by 1-2 weeks to get her passport, and then we will return.
So tomorrow after our visit, our drivers are taking us (along with Elizabeth and Bill) up to Barann Tower(spelling???) in the mountains. This is where we had planned to go earlier with others until we were told we couldn't. That's another story too. *sigh* There have been some challenging moments here.
Oh, and we were told that starting Monday, Ellie will have massage time every day. We are to buy her some baby oil (I'd really rather not use baby oil as it's made from petroleum, but what's the other options here??) for her daily massage. This will hopefully help her build muscle tone and work her muscles as well. NOW.. they are going to do this 8-9, she gets a bottle at 9 and then we arrive at 10. Do you think after a massage and warm bottle she's going to wake up for us? I wouldn't!! :-)

That's all for today folks. Continue to remember us in prayers. We need them daily.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday's Visit

Another great visit with "The Princess" today. Every day she comes out of her shell more. When I went back to pick her up, she began to open her eyes almost immediately. By the time I got out to Kevin and Josh, she was "talking". Now.... for some reason the photos came out blurry today. I'm so disappointed because they are TOO FUNNY. But, I'm going to post them anyway. The grandparents need their fix.

OH... it's you again. I know you!
You make me smile.
How have you been? Have you been keeping the parents in line?
HA!HA! I didn't think so.
OH MY GOODNESS, you brought me diapers and vitamins? That's so great!

Oh, look, it's my mama!
She's talking that funny talk to me.

She sure smiles a lot at me.

OH, what is this?? Oh, it's all those kisses from all those people who said, "Give her kisses from me." I think she got all my kisses.

Hey, I liked that, do that some more -- I'll pucker!

AND THEN, she started sucking on my finger. We asked Aliya if we could have a pacifier. They brought one out that was HUGE, but she didn't care, she took to it and wouldn't take it out of her mouth until time to eat. She LOVED IT!!! Josh thought it was funny that it was like a suction cup in her mouth. He'd give it a tug and she'd suck harder. She wasn't letting it go!

Ahhh... yes.

Tiny tootsies!
We were allowed to feed her today. This girl eats like a champion. 100 ml in less than five minutes.

After lunch, sleeping on daddy's chest. Isn't that a peaceful look?

And so... another day is passed. We don't get to see her tomorrow but are going to the mountains for a little "day trip". We will be back to see her Saturday and Sunday. I'm taking her a smaller pacifier, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Second Day's Visit

What a treat "The Princess" was today. When we arrived, she was partially awake and by the time I got her out to Kevin and Joshua, she was beginning to open her eyes. I swear our first picture of her (although blurry) shows her smiling!! She opened her eyes for us and then let out a belting cry!! She settled down pretty quickly while we walked with her. She definitely has a temper (yay, right?).

We met with the director to get her story and her medical information and that went well. We were told that we could visit extra days this week. We will get to see her Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, skip Monday and then Tuesday through Saturday. We were very happy to hear that news!!

We finalized our paperwork and will sign a power of attorney on Friday so someone can represent us in court.

As noon drew near, she began to stir again and get cranky. It became VERY obvious she was hungry and we took her back to the baby room. The caregiver there took off a lot of her layers, including blanket and hat and her eyes popped wide open and she was just full of herself. The caregiver told Aliya that she was a "spitfire" and let everyone know when she was hungry.
We were told she needed some type of German vitamin which we stopped with Ludmilla and Aliya to get on the way back. Tomorrow we stop to buy her some diapers. Other than that, we are good -- for now.

We were excited to get to meet Ivy and Karen today who were there visiting their sweet babies! We were also given an opportunity to deliver a package of goodies to Gen's missionary friends here and they came by the hotel today just as we were set to walk to the Metro. They kindly offered to drive us there. They were such fun people and we hope to be able to bring them some things when we return as well as to spend some more time with them. Imagine, coming all the way around the world, finding one of the few Christians in the country and getting to spend time with them -- definitely a God-orchestrated thing! We are so thankful that we met them!

So, I'm sure all you want are more photos. Here are some of her more expressive photos (and some hair pix for Betsy!!):

I'm not bragging or anything, since I had NOTHING to do with it, but isn't she the most beautiful little girl you have ever seen? I can't say she's the most beautiful baby, because, after all, I have a little man who was once a baby too and he was pretty darned handsome, but since she's a girl I can say that. We just SO want to bring her home NOW!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A few more photos

Nothing really new to write about our visit yesterday, but a couple more photos. Josh took a photo of Ellie's head in my hand to give you some perspective of how small she really is.

This is the first photo of Kevin and I with her:

This is her right after I came out of the baby room with her:

And this is Joshua, peeking under her hat to see her hair:

She has the most delicious little cheeks, nose and mouth.

"Meetcha" Day

This morning we were up early (time is all screwed up for us) and were ready to go when our translator, coordinator and drivers arrived to take us to Tokmok.

The drive was a little over an hour and I soaked up all the sights and culture that I could. There were several things that struck me as we traveled along to Tokmok. There are lots of animals, but no fences -- anywhere. There are also no lines on the road as you get out of the city of Bishkek. It's pretty much drive anywhere you like as long as you don't hit anyone else.

The country area is poor, but so beautiful with their fields and animals and snow capped mountains on one side and hillsides on the other. Our driver, Vladimir, tried to tell us some things (in Russian) and we were able to pick out some things, mainly from reading about other's experiences from the Kyrg yahoo list. There are a lot of people on the sides of the road and there is a strong smell of exhaust pretty much every where. Lots of kids out playing with no apparent supervision. Farmers working in the fields are abundant the further out you get. Their homes are mishmash "put-together-what-you-have" homes. It's very different from where we live. I took a bunch of photos along the way and will share a few here. Mainly I want Ellie to have a nice visual reference of the country from where she came -- even if it's just the road from Bishkek to Tokmok.

When we got to the orphanage, they took me right away to the baby room where they pointed out Aimana. My first thought was, "This isn't her." I checked the name and the birth date and they matched but I was just not prepared for how very tiny she is. When I asked her weight, they checked the latest numbers and told us 2.9 kgs, which converts to 6.4 pounds. They then told me they would wrap her up and let me take her outside. Imagine my surprise to know that I would get to show her to Joshua!! Just a reminder from God that He is still in the prayer answering business as this is something I gave over to Him. We weren't expecting to be able to as we were told he would not be allowed to see her due to her small size. She is so tiny and so light and so delicate. A couple of days ago, she scraped her eyelid and there is a small red mark there. She has long fingers and tiny, tiny hands. We managed to get a while alone with her, sitting outside and got her hat off so we could see her hair. It's dark and has some wave to it. Very cute!!! We never got her to open her eyes. We tried blowing on her, calling her, moving her around. We thought we were close once, but she just went back to sleep. Since she was a preemie, we are thinking she just needs more sleep. She had some rapid eye movement (REM) going on so we think she was in a deep sleep.

We were told that we would not be able to sit down and talk with the director/doctor today as her office was being remodeled/painted but that we would be able to do that on our next visit on Wednesday.

Joshua seems totally enamoured by her. He got to hold her with us holding underneath and he just touched her and talked about how tiny she was. He got really upset when he thought we were saying she couldn't open her eyes. He said, "Is she blind?" He almost cried.

As luck would have it, our batteries died while we were there. We managed to get quite a few photos, however. We were told it might be better to wait on the video for now. For those of you waiting for photos of your babies, we did not ask today since it was the first day. We will wait until a couple more visits when they feel comfortable with us and then ask Aliya to snap them for you.

We are now back in the hotel. We've walked back over the Beta Store and got more sodas and water. I am HUNGRY and there is really no where to go right now. Elizabeth and Bill are going with us for dinner to the American Pub and Grill. We hear the food there is good. I hope so. I'm certain to overeat. :-) Breakfast this morning was ok. There is a "buffet" (not like the U.S., really) and we had ham, olives, pickles, bread with butter and jam, tea and juice. There were some other items, but I didn't have a clue what they were so I didn't try it.

So, you don't want to hear so much about what we are or are not eating, so here are a few photos of "The Princess"