Today’s visit was very good and also a bit heartbreaking. We played with the same toys as yesterday. I also brought our ipod today so that Lena could look at pictures while I took a video. She likes to name all of the people in the photo, “Ilya, Mama, Papa, Lena”. It’s also fun if I point to them in the photo and she names them while she points to the real person.
They both love to it when they build a tower and Aaron picks them up to put the top blocks on… I should mention that these are very soft foam blocks, so it didn’t hurt if they hit anyone when they fall over!
We brought snacks today and wow, they devoured them. Ilya drank two juices boxes… and they shared two small packs of crackers. They ate them eagerly and licked up very last crumb (including the ones on the floor, before we could stop them!) They let us cuddle with them while they ate. We were trying to teach them “please” but I know they have no idea what we’re saying and we are trying to get them both to trust us, so I did not push it too much. I don’t want them to be the person waving a cracker in their face, but not letting them have it.
Ilya absolutely warmed up to us today. He took our camera and was going through all the photos. He found a picture of the castle of foam blocks that he and Aaron made and he ran over to Aaron saying “Papa! Papa! Papa!” That maybe the first time he has called for his “papa”. A nanny came in at one point and I think she asked who we were. Well, both of them said almost at the same time “Mama i Papa”. They both seemed very proud to have their own mama and papa. And, in the middle of our visit, Ilya had to go to the bathroom (so we think he is fully potty trained, as he actually asked both of us and looked at us like we were crazy since we had no idea what he was saying). Well, a nurse took him to the bathroom and we knew he was back when we heard his little feet running as fast as he could down the hall! He is letting both of us pick him up and hug him. We played the running away from mama game, where they act like they don’t want me to get them, but then they laugh when I pick them up and hug them, kiss them and tickle them. Aaron tried to play that with Lena, and she laughed, but she ran right over to me to be picked up!
Aaron played “airplane” with both of them today too. He’d set Lena down and she pull on his legs to be picked right back up again. She really is something. She smiles constantly. I mean, constantly. She smiles when we play with her, she smiles when we feed her, she smiles if we’re just sitting there next to her. Ilya takes a toy out of her hand, and she just kind of shrugs it off and keeps smiling. I kept commenting to Aaron on the constant smile. I was actually wondering if she is this way for her nannies too; if she is just a very happy little girl. Well, they came down to get her for lunch, we did not understand what they told her, but you should have seen the pout on her face. I am not sure that I’ve ever seen a child that genuinely sad before. She didn’t cry or screamed… she just looked miserable.
Lena has a very strong desire to be held. If you hold her like a baby, she gets a huge smile on her face. This orphanage is a very good one, but I still don’t think that they get the chance to be held constantly like a baby with a mother does.
We had a bunch of RR kid sightings today. We saw David, James, Polina, Carolyn and Dana. They were all very curious, but Dana especially broke my heart. She looked at me and said “Mama?” She ran over, but before I could give her a hug the nanny pulled her away. She and Carolyn walked by again later and they both tried to run over to us. It’s hard to see all the RR photos and know that a child is waiting. But when that child comes up to you and asks you “Mama?”… that is just heart wrenching. I am very glad that Dana has a wonderful family coming for her. She is the only one of those who does. All the rest of them are 4 or 5, I think, and still waiting. These children need a mama and papa. Adoption is hard, long and expensive, but it’s beyond worth it. And special needs? Who cares. The second Lena came over to me and smiled, I realized that there was nothing wrong with her. Trust me, she’s perfect. Ilya too. This might sound really cheesy, but I am not sure that you can understand it until you’ve met these children. Until Lena smiles for the whole two hours during your visit or Ilya runs down the hall ’cause he can’t wait to play with you more.