Grace at Johansens Farm petting a chick.
Grace at Johansens Farm
One year ago on October 13, Brian and I stood nervously in front of a judge in Kemerovo waiting for her to give her answer. Obviously, she granted us our petition to adopt! A few hours later (after going to the vital records office to get the birth certificate and adoption decree, and the post office for her passport) we were on our way to the orphanage! That three hours in the van was so hard! The translator tried to keep us busy by talking to us, but all we wanted to do was stare numbly out the window with anticipation!
When we arrived, the care takers were finishing up her dinner (it was close to five or so). We spent those few minutes talking to the directress about what had happened while we were gone and asking any last-minute questions. I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I saw a caretaker in the outer office holding Grace, waiting to be summoned in. I didn't want to freak her out by making a big deal, so I forced myself to continue on to the bathroom. When I got back, the children were in the room. Grace was sitting on Brian's lap, both of them looking VERY confused! The minute I walked in the room, Grace looked at me, held out her hands, and started crying! Now, I would like to believe that she recognized me and knew I would comfort her. However, It was more likely that she saw that I was a "woman" and wanted to escape from this "weird creature with hair on his face!". We were urged to quickly change their clothes and get them bundled up. We didn't have any time to cuddle them or get them comfortable with us. Change their clothes and go!
Grace was very quiet in the van. There are no car seats, and there wouldn't have been any room for on in the small van. I took a bottle out and filled it with some juice we had brought from our hotel room. While we were riding in the van, I gave her the juice. She not only drank it all...she fell asleep in my lap! She slept the entire way back to the hotel...a three hour ride!
When we arrived back at the hotel, the ladies were all in the hallway waiting for us. As soon as we walked in, they were oohhing and ahhhing over the children. They both started talking excitedly, first poining at Grace's nose and then at Brian. The translator said that they were saying that she looks like him. We got her upstairs and then gave her a really quick bath/shower. There wasn't a "tub" in there, so we sat her in the shower. The shower detached and we were able to wet a washcloth with it. We needed to bathe her because she smelled dirty. She hated the shower. We quickly dressed her in her pajamas and I spent a few minutes with her before putting her to bed in her crib. She fell right to sleep after rocking herself back and forth for a few minutes.
That was the day we had dreamed about.
Today, she is a happy, healthy (well, ok...right now she has a stuffy nose, but otherwise...) normal toddler! Most people cannot tell that she was adopted as she has caught up almost completely to where she needs to be. Most assume she was born premature (which she was...).
Right now she likes Elmo, Veggie Tales, Super Why and "the letter game" (Wheel of Fortune). She loves her Playschool class and the gymnastics class she is in. She is learning her colors, and a few letters. She is almost potty trained. She will tell me when she has to go, but I am still the one who initiates the potty. She still has trouble with the poo. I have learned that if I make her sit on the potty shortly after breakfast, I can usually catch her before she goes in her pants. The only problem is that sometimes she has one after lunch, and today she had one before dinner (it was more a result of the extra mucus...) She is wearing big girl undies, though, because she gets infections from regular diapers.
She loves to eat, but she is going through a very picky stage right now, she only has a few foods that are her faborites. However, she is getting a little more adventurous. I can usually coax her into eating dinner by offering her crackers to eat with her meal (a bite of food and a bite of cracker).
Her weight and size are still on the small size. She is wearing size 2T tops, but her bottoms are 18 month only because she needs the length. I have to take the waists in, which is difficult to do on jeans.
Over all, she is doing great, and I can't believe a whole year has gone by! We have watched her go from a very shy, quiet, baby-like girl to a talkative, loud (oh, so loud) normal toddler who loves to put mommy and daddy's shoes on! We are so proud of our little angel.