*This post was updated with photos and additional info after adoption
Ok, so this post is way overdue about the best thing in Karaganda. Honestly, I can't believe we've overlooked talking about her for so long. She's like our second favorite person in the baby house being surpassed only by our lovely soon-to-be daughter. But if we could take Oxana home with us too, we certainly would.
Oxana is our interpreter here in Karaganda and honestly we don't know what we would do without her. Jamie and I pride ourselves on being able to functionally make our way around in a place that we don't totally understand, but having Oxana around makes everything so much easier. She meets us at the baby house every morning and chats with us during our visit with sestra for about a half hour. She also laughs with us at the Papa and sestra dizzy walk (much spinning and then stumbly walking) and the numerous "injuries" that need to be kissed away.
Sometimes she comes with us when we need to go shopping to help us get the things we need. Things like telling the difference between laundry soap and fabric softener (and I know we were warned about making that mistake from other people, but I guess we forgot) or helping us to get light bulbs and ballpoint pens and Russian dance music CDs. And I know this is all stuff that we could figure out to do on our own, but after an exhausting day of playing with a toddler for four hours, it's nice to have someone who can do that thinking for you.
Today was a good day for us at the baby house. Sasha signed her second sign. Now she can sign Papa. The milestone here is that she doesn't say Papa, she signs it. Mama was an easy one to get across since every caretaker is referred to as Mama by the children. Papa was tougher since I'm probably the first man who's ever spent real time with her. So having her sign for me and understand that the sign is for a different person is a good thing.
Also, we were treated to a puppet show the other day. The psychologist and a few other doctors went from room to room reenacting a story for the children. We don't usually go in to the big play room with the other kids so it was a real treat to be invited in. The play was really cute. (Spoiler warning) There were many different animal puppets that went into a small house and the last animal to go in (the bear, played by the psychologist's right hand) knocked it down. Then they all danced. (Spoiler warning over) One of the doctors accompanied the action by playing music on the piano. I'd like to tell you that I recognized the music, but I didn't. I think it might have been a famous Russian song, but I'm probably just making that part up.
Jamie: We snapped several preview shots today that we thought you'd enjoy.
Here's Sasha modeling the hat that Sam knitted for her last month. Well, we have photos of both her face and the hat, but this one is cute, too!
Here's Papa and Sash walking down the baby house hall hand in hand. It's been funny teaching her how to walk and hold hands - I guess she had never done it before! But now she wants to hold our hands most of the time when we're on our walks and she usually wants to hold one of both of our hands - it's hard to walk three abreast in those little hallways!
And here Sasha catches up on her reading. Brown Bear is her favorite book and after we read it to her two or three times she likes to go review the pictures on her own (apparently they're more interesting upside down)
Prayer request: Monday's right around the corner, and we would sure love to do both pre-court and court next week! Please pray with us for court to come at the right time and for a smooth and easy process that makes Sestra a Morningstar very soon!