Today starts with good news: I slept well and feel well enough to go to the gym. Bob and I set out @ 8:30, begin lifting @ 8:40 and get about the serious business of ping pong at 9:20. Bob takes the first 3 games, I take the next 2. Bob makes it 5 games to 2 before I rally for 4 straight victories and a 6-5 advantage on the day. Series tally: Bob 18, me 17.
Back at the hotel around 10:30, I'm hungry for the first time in two days, and the thought of food is actually somewhat appealing. I have 1/2 banana and 2 6oz yogurts. The results aren't exactly what I hoped for, but I might have reached the point where nothing sits too well because my stomach is so empty. I'll hope the afternoon comes and goes without incident and try to eat dinner tonight.
It rained overnight and the temperature is as cool as we've seen: 16 C. Skies are cloudy and threatening, but we walk to the baby home without getting wet. It's my turn to get Molly. She's asleep when I get to her room: She must be roused, fed, washed, diapered and dressed by her care-giver. I busy myself visiting with the other children scattered here, there and everywhere between the two rooms (the outer room, where playing and eating take place and the inner room, which is for sleeping). We have babies in walking chairs and playpens and cribs, and we have three little guys sitting at a very tiny table eating what appear to be very soggy remnants of what were once cookies. My efforts go well at first, but it's hard being everywhere at once and paying enough attention to so many. First one cries, then another, until the only ones not part of the unhappy chorus are the two currently being fed....
On one of our previous visits, Molly was not ready when I arrived, so I sat down and played the piano to pass the time. With bedlam in the rooms today, one of the care-givers signals to me to play for the kids. I break into "Danny Boy" and honest to God there's not a peep from anybody. When I finish, there's not a dry eye in the house (of course they were all bawling before I began, but I chalk it up to Irish magic). A little Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer," Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and a riff on "When the Saints Go Marching In" and Molly's ready to go. I leave everybody crying again....
Out little girl is bright-eyed and cheerful today, and we set out to catch up with Alli and Aidan. Alli says she could hear the piano from the marble room & surmised I might have been playing because Molly had not been ready. Aidan is also in good spirits and happily scooting across the floor from toy to toy. Alli says she got a nice big smile when she picked him up today. Remember, this is the same little boy who would scarcely lift his head or raise his eyes to meet ours during the first couple of days. Of course, he still enjoys talking to the arm of the sofa as much as to either of us, so we're not getting carried away....
Molly enjoys munching on Nicholas's stuffed football while Aidan and I play with a rubber ball: I roll it over, he drools on it, I whisk it away and roll it back. The three kids congregate in the center of the room with the toys piled around them: Nicholas gets his football back, Molly grabs her favorite (a pink butterfly) and Aidan gets the Winnie-the-Pooh teether. After a few minutes, I lie on my back and put Aidan on his belly on my belly, and we stay there eye to eye for a good fifteen minutes. He spends time examining every detail of my ball cap, my glasses, the Flyers logo on my shirt, his fingers & my goatee, jibber-jabbing contentedly all the while.
We decide to try the snuggli sacks again today. I sit
Aidan on the floor, reach for the snugglis, and he topples over backward, giving himself a start and his noggin a pretty good thump. Much wailing ensues, and we find the wee man has a pretty good set of pipes. Order is restored quickly and we begin to suit up for a walk in the halls (it has begun to rain, so there will be no outside today).
As we set out, we encounter a nurse and then a doctor who appear to believe we intend to take the children outside. They are clearly agitated: The nurse motions Aidan needs a hat and coat, the doctor points to Molly and actually says the words in English. We know what they are saying, but we have no way of making them understand we intend to stay inside. Alli heads back to the marble room, the doctor yells up the stairs to the care-givers in Molly's room and I decide we'll need Olessya (who has been visiting with us in the marble room) if we are to settle this. I'm not in the marble room 30 seconds and have barely finished asking Olessya if she will speak to the doctor for us when Molly's care-giver appears. She and Olessya discuss the situation and all is well. Molly and I wander happily until it's time to pack up and take the kids back to their rooms.
On the way to the bus, Olessya tells us we will accompany her to the notary today, where we will sign papers giving power of attorney to a woman in Astana, the capital city. The woman will act on our behalf in the paperwork process there. We bus to the hotel, walk to the notary and sign four documents, all in Russian.
Olessya shares some news on next week's tasks: We will take the children to get passport photos taken and begin the paperwork the Kazakhstan government and the US Embassy will need to complete the adoption. We still have no court date, so this effort represents a parallel path and not an effort to expedite our time line.
One more piece of news: All of our kids' birth mothers were located, notified of the impending adoptions and asked to appear in court next Thursday. They might or might not show up; the proceedings can go on either way.
After the notary, Alli & I head to the grocery store: For some reason, potato chips appeal to me and we don't have any in the hotel. Back in the room @ 4, the chips and a little Coke really hit the spot. I doze for about twenty minutes before Dana arrives for dinner at 5. We go to a very local place we've been three times already: It's close to the hotel and the food is trustworthy. Everything goes well.
Alli and I hit the internet cafe to check e-mail, then we're off to Bob and Beth's room for movie night. Tonight's feature: "Miracle," the story of the 1980 US Olympic ice hockey team.