What a day! Natalia got here this morning around 10am and it was a busy day from then on. We went to the orphanage first and she met with the lawyer while I went to play with my kids. I will share more about our visit later because I realize I haven’t told much about how the kids are doing lately. After the visit Natalia came back to the orphanage and surprised me by showing up since I thought I’d meet up with her at home. After we brought the kids back and dropped in on the lawyer again quickly she wanted to go to Celentano’s for lunch (pizza) so we headed over there then home again. I walked down to the baby gear shop down the road and bought a stroller for our return trip home. Last night I went through my bag and ‘packed away’ all the clothes I’d bought for the kids, so having the stroller in my possession now makes me realize that the end really is near! After the quick trip to the stroller store we headed back out- this time to the Notary’s office to have them certify copies of our passports and marriage certificate so that we can go to both the birth certificate offices and give them each an official copy tomorrow. From there we went to the Kramatorsk birth certificate office to begin to file paperwork for Micah’s new birth certificate. While there we found out that Kramatorsk is somewhat of a ‘district head’ to the city that Emma was born in and we were able to start her paperwork as well. We will still have to travel to the city she was born in tomorrow to do the actual document but it may be ready and waiting when we arrive.
From the birth certificate office we went back to the orphanage and I was able to take a little ‘tour’ of some areas of the orphanage. More about that later too. And then Natalia went home and I went and got the kids for my second visit. I’m getting better at communicating with the caretakers and they understood me when I asked them to come back and help me bring the kids back in an hour. They were right on time and instead of one caretaker to help with the second child, they had two people come and get the kids. Quite efficient. It’s nice that I was able to get the point across and I didn’t just get scolded for carrying both kids on my own!
Ok, about the kids… Micah is doing well. He hasn’t progressed a whole lot during the time I’ve known him but he does smile a little more, especially when they first hand him to me. He also likes to grab the opening on a balloon and play with the balloon and he will lay on his stomach raised up on his arms and bat at balls. Otherwise his favorite place to be is up against my chest in a close snuggle- no matter HOW HOT it is in the room (usually VERY HOT). I’m so glad I brought the sling with me because he absolutely loves it and I can have both hands free to interact with Emma that way. I almost feel bad for not giving him tons of great visual stimulation and getting him rolling around on the floor every visit (we do some visits still!) but then I realize that even just being held is much more than he’s getting in his crib every day, and knowing he is secure and safe is just as important right now. He likes to be massaged and has decided I’m not TOO evil when I put lotion on his little forehead and cheeks. He doesn’t all out cry very often and it usually is more of a scrunched up face and a little squawk. I’m sure given time it would grow but I haven’t let him cry enough to really know.
I’ve tried Micah in the swing and although he doesn’t object, he’s not all that excited about it either. He likes to lay his head back and stare straight up at the dangling chain pieces about a foot or two above him. That must be mesmerizing! He really is very alert and calm for the most part. I can’t wait to see his happier emotions take a stronger role and see him smile and show pleasure at things that he likes to see and do. I know he’s taking it all in he just doesn’t express that he likes things other than by quieting down.
Emma has come out of her shell. Each visit we usually start on this big foam mat- of which she immediately rolls to the side and off of (with help, since it’s 4” thick and I don’t want her to fall off!). She laughs a lot at goofy things like a hand coming like a spider at her face then gently ‘attacking’ her entire head. She thinks that’s great! She also likes to have me rub her cheeks with one hand (like a squishing movement) and then to bend down and kiss her cheek. That almost always gets a giggle. Some times she’s very ticklish and rolls around as she giggles and other times she grinds her teeth when she gets tickled. One of the things she’ll do if she’s in a good mood about being tickled is get onto all fours- and her head. Usually her head is on the ground but she will pick it up and look around. She just doesn’t have the strength to stay like that a long time without using her head to support some of the weight. Emma does the cutest little thing on her stomach- she’ll cross her arms in front of her and put her head down and just watch everything else going on in the room. It is absolutely adorable to watch her like this! I have several pictures that I’ve shared, but it’s when she’s sitting like this that you can look at her and say “yes, she really is 5.” Emma has been making more sounds lately. Just random, but she will do “mamamamama” and “emmamama” which is cute since that’s her name . She has a few other sounds but I can’t come up with them at the moment.
Emma absolutely loves the swing especially when she can drag her feet a little on the floor or if the big mat is behind her she likes to be gently bumped into it. Whenever another kid runs through and a collision takes place (we try to avoid this, but it happens!) she giggles about it. She is doing much better holding her head up for longer periods of time but either tires quickly or is a bit lazy. Probably both! She has been diagnosed with Nystagmus (I think) which is a disorder with the eyes where they sort of dart back and forth horizontally occasionally. I see this more when she is tired but it really doesn’t seem to affect her attention to things or her vision too much. We’ve also been told that she’s near-sighted and that I believe 100%. She brings everything right to her nose to look at it and doesn’t seem to focus well on anything too far away. That doesn’t keep her from watching everything going on around her though! Emma is very interested in other kids and if she’s nearby Micah she likes to take his hands- or his hair or his face if those are closer- and hold on to him. She loves to be held and cuddled and only pushes away after several minutes of being held. If it’s Micah’s turn in the swing Emma likes to sit in my lap and push the swing. She has it all figured out and really likes to do it.
Both of the kids are so sweet and loving and they each have very distinct personalities which I can’t wait to see grow and blossom. They will each add a new aspect to our home life and enrich our family ten fold!