Monday, January 10, 2005

This morning we all got up early for various reasons. Les always gets up to start breakfast. Jim was heading over the Internet cafe (with a faster Internet connection) to do some Censeo work, and Carla was working on uploading the website and catching up on email before the Richardson's morning calls with family (re remember... they have been nice enough to share their phone line with us.).

Les and Carla took a CD of pictures across the street to EX-FOTO to have them printed. Many of the caregivers had requested pictures of the children (and us) for their scrapbooks. We went through all the wonderful pictures Les has taken and picked out those of our driver, caregivers, interpreters, Olga, the baby house director, the doctor etc. We plan to take the prints with us to our "party" on Wednesday where we'll present the gifts and cakes to the staff after the adoption is final!.

EX-FOTO didn't open until 10AM so we were a few minutes late to the baby house. Les went directly to get Sveta and Jim/Carla went upstairs to see if we could visit Erkin(aka - Kai) . They said he still had a fever (but low grade) so we could visit with him today. Since we were uncertain whether we would have him for the afternoon visit (in light of the current "epidemic" going on with the viruses in the babyhouse), we decided to split the morning visit so we could both see each child. Carla took first shift with Kai and Jim took Sierra. Then at 11:10, we switched. Sierra's visit was in the sports room and Kai's was up in the normal visitation room (they still don't want the children together - in an effort to keep them from swapping germs)

The doctor gave us a prescription for some homeopathic remedies for Kai - to boost his immune system. She wanted us to go buy it and then bring it back to the baby house. They would administer it to him until we leave and then send us home with the rest to finish. They swear by it over here and we'll do whatever it takes to get him better (even if it means buying $30 worth of honey stuff). Jim was with the doctor when she came to give Kai the first dose, so he was able to see how to administer it - now we just need instructions on frequency and dosage.

The visits went well - both children had a good energy level so we wore them out before their morning naps. Afterwards, we stopped by the store to get Kai's medicine, went to the bookstore (to get some books in Russian and English) and were going to go to the bizarre until we got a call from Masha saying "Olga doesn't want you to go to the bizarre without an interpreter." So they said they would go with us tomorrow - however, both of Assia and Masha have told us they really hate the Bizarre (the Bizarre is an huge outdoor flea market) so we'll see if that happens. We decided to go by the IBC (International Business Center) which is run by the Peace Corp. Terry, a Peace Corp volunteer, invited us to come by for a tour. After driving around for 30 minutes trying to find the place (keep in mind it was just us and Igor - who speaks limited English), we finally found the correct place.

Terry gave us a brief background of the project they're working on and then went into detail about his portion of the project. They have trained various freelancers in different web technologies. Now the project entails going out to business and selling web design/development services. He showed us several websites they've created. Afterwards, he took us around to meet several of the business incubator clients. They have about 30 currently in the facility (they provide subsidized rent, shared business services, provide various training etc). We had the opportunity to meet several of them. It's really inspiring work and should benefit this area greatly - however it's a big difference from what they're used to. When it was a communist country, there was no need for marketing/advertising etc. These are foreign concepts to these people. The Peace Corp project is trying to help them in many of these business areas. Given our background in technology and starting our own business, we really enjoyed the time Terry spent with us... we can see that it would be very rewarding work to help the local Kazaks start and manage their own businesses. We take a lot for granted in the US is far as this is concerned. For these people, the idea of growing "their own" business is a freedom they have not always had. Very inspiring!

We got back to the apartment in time to meet Igor for our afternoon visits. Both children were still feeling well, so we were able to visit again. We split up the visits this time as well. Carla started with Sierra and Jim with Kai. We miss visiting as a family but we're glad to at least be able to see both children each day. Sierra was very vocal this afternoon (a sign that she's getting back to normal). You could hear her all the way down the hall. She loves to "talk" and make noises at all different octaves. Our neighbors on the plane will love her! She also gets a kick out of watching your mouth when you make noise. She wants to study what you're doing to produce the noise you're making - and then, often times, she tries to imitate you.

Kai played during his portion of the visit with Jim and was ready to wind down by the time Carla got there. When he gets like this, Carla will walk with him and kiss his head or cheek. Today after she did this, he turned and gave her a kiss back on the mouth. It was a real tear-jerker, especially with court tomorrow. After this, he actually fell asleep while sucking his thumb on Carla. He didn't even wake up when she took him back to the caregiver.

Needless to say it was a good day of visits and we're a little nervous about tomorrow (Carla is - of course, Jim is cool), but it should go fine. Olga and Assia spent some time with us this evening to prepare us for the big day. There is a bit more formality during tomorrow's official court appearance, and will require a little prep and memorization on our end. One last hurdle, but we'll be ready! It's a big day for us tomorrow. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Here are the pics from today:


This was the first of 3 accidents we saw on the way to the baby house. It rained last night and then froze over this morning, so it was slick out.



Sierra was excited to see us this morning. Can you tell?


Natasha (one of Sierra's caregivers) brought over a friend from her group.



Kai stretching over backwards while getting his diaper changed


"Hey, I know you"



"Let me rip this string thing off your neck"


Jim LOVES being a dad!



"I see Mama. Let's take her picture too."


"Don't hate me because I am beautiful"



"What do you want?"


This is what Kai looks like about 3:30 in the afternoon before his 4:00PM nap. He actually fell asleep again on Carla today.



The entrance to the Bizarre (and outside flea market of sorts).


A Muslim Mosque



A Kazakh newspaper



The IBC office (International Business Center that the Peace Corp runs) with Terry (a Peace Corp volunteer)



One of the business' at IBC - the are called the Women's Group and make beautiful art pieces. When we started looking at her picture books, Carla commented that they were "Krasivy" (beautiful in Russian). The lady then thought she could speak Russian so she continued to describe everything. Carla would then "translate" to Jim - or so she thought!.


Carla, Jim, Yuri, and Terry at IBC. Terry and Yuri are great guys and are doing a lot to help build the business community of Uralsk.



Les and Igor outside the apartment


Just swinging.



"Can I help you?"


Mama's big boy is half her size.



Kai's caregivers eating lunch. There are actually 8 caregivers in his group - these are only 3 of them, but we saw them a lot during our visit here in Uralsk.


"Like I was saying..."


Sierra's caregivers. There are actually 10 caregivers in her group - these are only 3 of them, but we saw them a lot during our visit here in Uralsk.

Jim and Carla giving the clothing donations to the Baby House Director. She was very grateful for the clothes and said she will try to give most of them to Group #2 (Sveta's group) and Group #4 (Erkin's group). She asked if the clothes had come from the US - when we commented, she was very happy because she said it was better quality than what they have there.



Jim and Carla with Dr. Irena (Baby house director)


Dr. Irena and Les - she told Les he must like her since he's taken 4 or 5 pictures of her since he's been visiting. So he decided to have one more taken of the two of them. Hopefully this will "seal the deal" for our adoption approval. Dr. Irena is present in court with us tomorrow for the final court hearing.



The Uralsk fire department.


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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004