*This post was updated with photos and additional info after adoption
We thought you’d like to hear a little about our schedule while we’re here in Kazakhstan.
We’re still at a hotel, although we hope to be able to move into an apartment next week. We get breakfast in the hotel, and it’s really nice to get a good start on the day (and to have somebody else cook it for us!). Breakfast is usually either porridge (corn, rice, or cream of wheat) or eggs and blintzes (like crepes) with a mild sour cream or jam. Sometimes we’ll get bread with a slice of summer sausage and cheese as well. Breakfast here is really good, albeit quite a bit denser than your normal breakfast in the States. We also usually get juice, and the cartons of juice here is really great. Pomegranate is our favorite so far.
After breakfast, we head to the baby house for our morning visit. Our visit is right after Sasha's breakfast as well and we pick her up from her room and bring her into an adjoining room that’s really just a large hallway outside of her main room. Most families just do their visits in the main room (which is the room that the kids eat, play, and hang out in. They also have a bed room and a potty room), but we’ve been fortunate to be able to bring her into a quieter room for our visits. It does mean that we don’t get as much time to get to know her room-mates and caregivers, although folks are always walking through so we’ve gotten to know most of the caregivers and doctors anyway.
I’m not sure why our visits are in a different room, but I’m guessing it’s because Sash is a little older than most of the kiddos being adopted and we’re the only ones visiting in her room (Group 8) so there’s enough room in the hallway for us to play (some of the younger groups have two or even three families visiting right now). There are around 12 kids in each group, with two caregivers at all times and then a parade of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who come in throughout the day.
We get an hour and a half to play in the morning and we mostly just play with the toys we bring – balls, balloons, books, a doll, stacking cups, etc. Then for the last 15 or 20 minutes of our visit we feed her lunch, which is always an adventure. Lunches there are really humongo – soup, meat (usually a meatloaf-like substance), beets or cabbage, and diced cucumber and tomato and a cup of juice. Sometimes we can get her to eat it all, sometimes we can’t – we’re still getting the hang of the baby house style of feeding.
When we leave the baby house we usually go to a café for lunch that has wi fi and that’s where we post to you guys! After that we head back to the hotel to chill or nap for a little while before our afternoon visit.
Our afternoon visit is later than most of the other groups’ (again, because Shura's a little older), so the baby house tends to be quieter in the afternoon. We come after her nap and snack, although sometimes we feed her snack when we first arrive if they’re running a little late. Snack is usually a bun and some yogurt. And then we play for another two hours!
After the afternoon visit, we either go out to dinner or maybe go to our travel partners’ apartment to do laundry. Otherwise we usually get dropped off at the grocery store where we pick up a loaf of fresh bread, a hunk of cheese, a yogurt smoothie, and some juice and just have dinner in our hotel room. And the next morning it starts all over again!
Sash came up with a fun new game today while we played with the balloon. She would tug on the deflated balloon so that it made a snapping sound and then come to me whimpering with her hand outstretched so that I would give it a bit show of kisses and pity until she collapsed in hysterics, walked back over to Daddy and the balloon, and started the whole cycle again!
We’ve been trying to encourage her dependence on us (remember, she still has to be taught what it means to have a Mom and Dad), so this game gives us great physical contact and “babying” time for our otherwise independent little toddler.
Prayer requests: Today, please take a little extra time to pray for the moms at home in Utah. They have given us such a gift by caring for the boys while we're in Kaz and we are so grateful that they could jump in when we truly need it most. Please pray that their energy is sustained, that they continue to grandparent Sam and Ben wisely, and that they are able to fill the parent void for our boys while we're so far away. Pray that they will look back on this time as a truly special month with their grandsons.