Today started out ROUGH. A train ride where I couldn’t sleep, Mike couldn’t sleep, and I had horrible heartburn then felt sick. What a way to travel! And what a way to spend the night before you are to meet the director and inspector over the children we want to meet! Luckily we got to town early enough to find a hotel and get settled, nap a few minutes and take a shower. Then it was off to the inspector’s office.
The meeting there went well. We showed her the photo album and she signed off on our documents needed to meet Dasha (Daria) and Daniil. She didn’t accompany us to the orphanage as the other two inspectors had though.
When we got to the orphanage we initially noticed how clean, happy, and professional the orphanage looked. All the workers wore ‘nursing’ garb, the building smelled like lunch (and later on like fresh bread), there were colorful pictures on the walls and photographs of the children on them. The director was kind, happy, and very personable. He asked a few questions but wasn’t like an interrogation as we’ve gotten before. He was surprised, however, to hear that we wanted two “sick” children. Our explanation must have sufficed because that was all it took. There was a woman that spent a lot of time with us- either an assistant director or maybe a secretary? And she went into a room and brought back with her--- a laminated POSTER of the adoption of Daniil! The older boy that was adopted after leaving this orphanage! They were very pleased to know that Daniil had such a good home and when they heard that we knew of him too they were very pleased.
Also, the director smiled when I told him that Lynn with Life2Orphans was who had given us the information on Daria. It wasn’t long before they told us to go into the playroom area and there she was! Daria was laying on a changing table and they sat her up and were holding onto her. She was a doll!
We went and put our bag and jackets down and went over to her. At first she frowned at us and I squatted down (she was on a changing table, so she was then higher than I was). She looked at us for a minute and wasn’t sure she liked us invading her space. But after a minute we asked if we could hold her and they said yes. They did caution us that she doesn’t hold her head up well. Wow, was I surprised! Daria is NOT a little limp thing. I was expecting a mushy child with a blue tint, difficulty breathing, and a spacey glare. Instead we found a TINY, strong, attentive little girl! She is not nearly as strong as she could be, but if she spends much of her time in a crib then that’s easily explained. Her head will become strong very quickly, I think, when given the opportunity to use those muscles more often. She was not quite as bony as I was expecting either. Her muscles were far from strong, but she wasn’t all skin and bones with nothing holding her together. She was sturdy, strength-wise, and way more attentive than I thought she would be.
Although we didn’t experience any smiles from Daria we are told that she is expressive, smiles, laughs, cries, and pouts. She doesn’t sit up, crawl, or walk, but she does roll over. She likes people, babies around her that she can touch, and likes toys only a little bit. She had several illnesses in her first few years but after 2 has been pretty healthy.
Daria was given up at birth by her birthparents. She was the first live-birth of her mother (second pregnancy) and they knew that she would have problems early on in the pregnancy (but… they continued their pregnancy!). She came to the orphanage at 1 month old and has grown up there. She was born full term- around 38 weeks or so and weighed 3k, 150g (anyone have a conversion for me??). Her mother gave her up at birth. From one to two years old she was sick a lot with “the flu” (I think this is a general term- it’s used a LOT). After 2 she has been more healthy. She is not yet sitting or standing but she “turns around” (rolls over maybe?). They told us she doesn’t support her head but we often saw her doing it so in time I think she will be doing it more (when she has more time to practice!).
She likes other kids and enjoys touching them and watching them, and has a slight interest in toys. Dasha shows when she is happy/sad by laughing or crying. She plays, holds her own bottle (exclusively bottle fed because of the room she is in but we are told that she will likely learn to spoon feed easily—how sad)
Daria has had some vaccinations- which surprised us- and a major heart defect. She is on medication (maybe digoxin?) to help her heart. We were told the hole is between the upper and lower sections, but that doesn’t make sense because they said she has some “mixed blood” in her heart, so if it is between upper and lower it must be at the direct center… which would be similar to Brianna’s. Maybe a partial AV canal? Or else a poorly translated ASD or VSD (also a possibility). She had an echocardiogram done in November that will be available to us. It was also explained to us that one part of the heart muscle is somewhat distended (?) because it is working overtime. We’re not exactly sure what that means.
Lastly, Daria has “crossed eyes” (which we didn’t notice) and nystagmus (eyes go back and forth left to right- which we didn’t notice). So who knows. They also say she is near sighted. I guess n ophthalmologist will figure all that stuff out once we’re home!
After some cuddling with Daria we were brought into a ward to find Daniil. He apparently has “the flu”- again. He was born September 10, 2006 and is 16 months old. His mother is a year or more YOUNGER than me and the father born the same year as Michael. He was tiny at birth, 2k 700g (anyone converting again??), 50cm long. He received a 7 on his initial Apgar after birth. He was also a first child. He was born full term but tiny and was “hypotrophic” (light weight?). He was in the hospital for 1 or 2 months after birth and during that time his parents gave him up and his heart defect was found. It is a relatively small ‘open window’ in the upper part of the heart and it wasn’t seen as needing surgery or affecting circulation.
We are told that Daniil gets sick often and has had “the flu” 9 or 10 times including bronchitis, ear infections, stomach virus, and a strep infection. He’s had many rounds of antibiotics that are “4th generation” (very strong). He too has had vaccines but has just started them. He was diagnosed with Ds at birth upon visual inspection but hasn’t had any genetic testing done.
Daniil is far sighted (supposeably), has difficulty gaining weight (sound familiar?), often has loose stools, and is now on a probiotic and something that sounds like “ferments creeon” for his stomach to get it to digest vitamins and minerals. I don’t know. He gets Calcium, Vit D3, and B group vitamins now too. He has a prescription from a neurologist that is to improve neurological and muscular impulses (sounds odd to me) that is called something that sounds like “pieratsetam”. He also has received massage and PT. Daniil’s current weight is now 6kg and he is 65.5cm long. He army crawls on his stomach and is not yet sitting up.
So… after all of this (slightly overwhelming) information, we now know that Daria is ok, Daniil will be fine, and our family is about to grow by TWO! We have “said yes” to both children, but the orphanage lawyer (actually, a guy that’s about 24 and has a big ego that says we have to do things by the book, and he has the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in law) said we have to visit with the children every day from 10:30-12:00 in order to get the written documents that state we’ve made initial contact. We aren’t sure how MANY days we have to do this before the papers will be signed, but we’ll do it! You don’t really have to talk us into coming to visit these two cuties! Unfortunately each day that the paper isn’t signed is another day we wait. Oh, and he also said that the 10 days is NEVER waived here. So I guess we won’t be getting our hopes up for that even tho the orphanage doctor says she needs immediate treatment…
So, Kristopher and Brianna, I hope you can begin to accept the idea that there will be two babies joining you in the house. Dasha’s name will be Emma Hope and Daniil will be Micah Daniel. So little Emma and Micah will be coming home soon.
Now we can think about fun things like baby clothes and cribs :). I think Micah will be in about a 12 months size (maybe een 6-9 mos) and Emma’s probably in 24 months. Her little feet are SO TINY. I think they might be the same size as Brianna. For that matter, Brianna has probably grown in the 2 weeks since I’ve seen her and it’ll be another 2 weeks or more, so I’m sure she will look so big to me when I finally see her again.
At the moment, knowing that the kids are ok, the orphanage is ok, and that I miss K and B terribly, I am considering coming home for the wait. I may change my mind and end up staying, but I could not have guessed any of this would happen and I’m thinking a short refresher at home would’t be bad. Plus I’m definitely going to need a completely different set of clothes than we brought and another 2 hands to help out in getting us home.
Lastly, here’s a little blessing story. On Saturday Joy, Kevin, Mike and I went for a nice LONG walk and were able to meet up with Charissa, John, and little Ava that they just finished adopting! She is SO ADORABLE, and it was great to have the 6 of us together. When we first met up with Joy and Kevin I’d brought a bag of clothes to them because we’d packed for a size 3t girl and a 3t boy. But here we are with a TINY boy and a TINY girl. So in talking with Joy previously I found out that she is now going to stay during her wait and needed some clothes for her little Caleb. I do believe ours will do the trick! In the same outing after we met up with Charissa, I was given the ONE ITEM that I needed so badly- a hairdryer! So thank you to Charissa and to Valarie who aparantly sent it to her initially :) Mine died soon after arriving in Korosten and blew out our converter at the same time. I've been borrowing one from our host in Kiev, but needed one to go in region today. Blessings :)