Wednesday, January 12, 2005

We had our last visits at the baby house today. The morning visit was the same as normal. We settled in upstairs. Kai was in the big play pen. His caregiver got him out and let him walk to us. He was all smiles this morning. We think he knew today was the start of his new life with us.

Carla stayed with Kai and Jim went downstairs and got Sierra. Jim and Carla both tried the Snuglis out on the kids and they fit. Kai prefers to be facing out. Jim carried Sierra facing in and she did fine. We also tried the bottles we brought with us to make sure the kids would take them. We just put water in them. We were afraid they wouldn't take them because the only water they are fed has syrup in it. However, they drank it fine which is encouraging. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Carla also talked to the doctor to get instructions for Kai's medicine (which the Doctor said to give to Sveta as well). She got some guidance on the type of food and juice to buy. The Doctor said we should be in good shape with the children. They are on the same schedule and diet so she didn't feel we'd have any problems.

Our other big surprise was finally seeing Kai's "crib room." We were able to take a tour of his room and see the crib where he slept. He actually had Mickey Mouse sheets on his bed. He was the only one in the room with these sheets. The caregivers don't know we're from Florida, so it was random that he had those sheets - kinda neat though... Wait until he sees the real Mickey.

After our morning visit, Masha went with us to the Atrium to by some baby food and juice. She was helping us pick out the types of food they are used to eating. Afterwards, we went home and started packing, did some final laundry etc.

Our afternoon visit was the going away party. Igor's neighbor made the going away cakes for us. The Richardsons and us bought 3 from her - one for each group (Anna and Sierra are in group #2, Kai is in group #4 and Jude is in group #6. We delivered the cakes first. Then we took our gifts to the Music room where all the caregivers, doctors and baby house director gathered for us. The baby house director gave a nice speech. She said they liked both families and knew we would take care of "their babies." She commented how Keely and Carla had both cried at court and they knew that we loved the children. It was very nice.

After she was done, then each group said a little something. The group #2 caregivers bought Sierra and Anna a traditional Kazakh doll. It was all very touching. Carla and Keely also spoke. We thanked them for being their first "Mamas" and giving them such a good foundation. We assured them that we would love the children and provide them a good home and education. We could never have imagined when we came here that the orphanage facility would be this clean and nice and that the women who care for these children would love them. We are very fortunate. [By the way, Sveta was "talking" loudly throughout the speeches. Her caregivers said she was going to be the next Whitney Houston]

After the party, we took the remainder of the gifts to the respective groups (only 3 of the caregivers are present per day). They realized that Group 4 had 9 caregivers and we were only told there were 8, so we ran to the Atrium afterwards to buy another one (which we'll drop off tomorrow when we pick up the kids).

We passed a few caregivers from each group on the way out and thanked them again and asked that they pass along our appreciation to the others in the group (Group 4 actually invited us to have a little cake - the cakes were huge and very good).

We have an early morning tomorrow. We get picked up at 8AM to start our journey to Almaty.

Here are the pics from today:


Kai was excited to see us this morning. His caregiver let him walk to us.



"I'm happy to be a Higgins'"


Jim trying Sierra out in the Snugli



Carla trying Kai out in the Snugli


Kai's caregiver thanking us for the clothing donations. The Baby House director gave most of the clothes to Group #2 (Sierra's group) and Group #4 (Kai's group).


Kai in his crib - notice the Mickey Mouse sheets - coincidence?


Kai's "crib room"



Kai showing Mama his crib


The view from Kai's window (it's the playground that WPA put in).



Kai's scales (where they weigh him every 10 days).


Kai's playroom.



Daddy and Kai by his crib.


Kai in his "I love mommy" socks



Buying baby food at the Atrium


The baby food selection at the Atrium.



The "Spasiba" (Thank you) cakes that Igor's neighbor made for us. We gave one to each group (Group #2, Group #4 and Group #6 - Jude's group).


Igor in his Mickey Mouse hat.



Phillipivich in Igor's Mickey Mouse hat.


Sierra's caregivers looking at all the pictures we gave them (Les had been taking a lot of picture - if you hadn't noticed - over the last few weeks. We made prints and gave them to each group so they had something to remember us and the children by).



"Daddy makes me laugh."


Our first photo as the Higgins' family. We almost had everyone looking at the camera.


Jim signing the papers for the baby house.


Sierra and Jude's caregivers at our party. We gave them gifts in appreciation of all the love and care they have provided the children over the last several months. 3 of Sierra's caregivers came in just for the party - they were off work today but we saw them a lot during our visit.





Sierra making one of her faces - she is with one of her caregivers that came in off work for the party.



Les and his two favorite gals from the baby house (the baby house director and Natasha, one of Sierra's caregivers)


Kai and one of his favorite caregivers.





Masha, Olga, and Assia



Group #4 invited us to eat some of their cake. It was really good. The pastries and cakes here are not near as sweet as those in the US, but they are really good.


The Group #2 caregivers bought Sierra (and Anna) one of these dolls to remember Kazakhstan

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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004