Monday, June 30, 2008
We are spending another quiet day here, we both just woke up from a nap, I was trying once again to read "Memory Keepers Daughter" and fell asleep. I intended to go out with Amanda after lunch but her rubbing at her eyes showed me the time before the clock did, I reluctantly put her down for her nap knowing full well our chances of getting out and about after that were nil. After we woke up, I looked out and saw that the clouds have overtaken the sky once more. I can smell the rain in the wind blowing through the open window.
Now I blame Tom for our lack of site seeing opportunities, he calls right at the perfect time for us to leave nearly every morning. Not so ideal a time for him, it is past midnight there and he is visibly worn out, Meghan and Kara can do that to a person LOL. I cannot fall asleep here until there is as little light as possible, after midnight, so waking up before 7 is difficult, but it would be the best time to talk for Tom. I would hate missing talking to him in the morning, so what can we do? We cannot leave after we hang up because it is close to lunch and nap time. If Amanda gets over tired she begins to cry miserably and I cannot do that to her or to me, it upsets me to see her sad.
We may go downstairs to the bakery to get something fun to eat with dinner; maybe I can entice her with something cheesy and sweet, a little bread? All she seems to want to eat are sweets. So fruits and yogurts, rice cereal if she is in the mood, starches all, though there is limited protein in yogurt. Wish I could sneak the Ellecare into her food. We have plenty of time to introduce a more varied diet once home. I am hoping we can make more soups and such, weaning her off of so many sweet foods is going to be a challenge though, if she is anything like her sister in her determination NOT to do what we ask of her.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Dawn, I agree, her feet are adorable, very slender and soft. She stood up a few times to day, I would say she is a good 6 months away from trying to walk.
I wanted to show a video of how she crawls. Tom took his cameras home and they had the sound, it is too bad, because you can't her her squeal with delight as she crab crawls to me.
She is adorable, and so unknown, she is like a puzzle with so many missing pieces you cannot solve it. I will have to search for each as the months march forward. Some I may never find, she has spent 3 years living somehwere else, I just hope we can see the bigger picture soon.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
There is a bit of a chill in the air tonight. The rains came on suddenly this afternoon and wet unprepared people; I and Amanda included. As we walked the path to the mall to buy the few things Amanda will eat the rain began. Of course the umbrella I brought to Estonia was back at the room. The clouds looming overhead and tension in the air that precludes a rain storm had me feeling ill at ease for most of the afternoon, so I was a little anxious venturing out. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was not an entirely pleasant walk. There were very few friendly people, they don’t generally smile at strangers here, they are not a culture that smiles a lot any way, not as hard-faced as the people I saw walking in Ukraine, but sober like them.
People were walking in twos and threes conversing in Estonian; many stopped and peered at Amanda, did a double take, grabbed sleeves and pointed. Were they saying “Look at that older woman with a baby?” or discussing her disability? It is unknown to me what they were discussing, but it did make me feel badly and rather lonely. Not one person sharing the sidewalk with us made overtures or displayed any friendly curiosity about us, maybe we just blend in? I did not expect them to, my weeks n Ukraine taught me not to.
Tom had reported that the workers at the American consulate told him to be careful when walking about, there was a lot of unrest and it was not entirely safe for us here. I am not certain what he means, as I have not witnessed this at all, people walk about working, selling, shopping, eating, and do not act threatening in any way. He did mention it was worse at night? I guess when there is night…
All the same I find it makes me wary to venture out of the apartment, and I also get my hackles up when they point and stare at Amanda, it makes me want to remark: “It is because of these feelings you have about these precious children that I am here, to give her a life she could never have in your country”. But is it fair for me to make a judgment like that? I know that decades or conceivably centuries of being told to hide and discard that which is different is hard to abandon. It seems logical to me that a belief system must be questioned, discussed, and found to be deleterious before a society (or a person) would make the move to change it. Though I think perhaps things will change here to a more positive place for people with disabilities as I saw a young woman with cerebral palsy walking with a friend, I wanted to applaud, it is a beginning!
Still sometimes I just want to shake the people awake when they look at Amanda like she is a freak show attraction. It depresses me to deal with it, and it makes me so angry. How can they see ugly or different when all I can see is the beauty of this little girl, the delicacy of her features, her sweet and pure spirit; Can’t they feel her longing to be loved and cherished?
At times I think too much, I think the rain has me feeling melancholy. I did get a visit from one of the young women who work here, she was showing me places to get souvenirs, she also told me about the zoo, how to take the Tram and encouraged me to ask for help if I needed it, I think I have grown exceptionally weary of asking for help, seems for 6 months straight it is all I have done.
After I finished my shopping I saw the rain coming down in earnest, I searched all over the mall for an umbrella and finally bought one at a souvenir shop, it was $11 (110 kroon), and I thought it was not a bad price considering. I used it to cover Amanda on the way back to the apartment, it was a peculiar site, and her little feet clad in her dressy white shoes; the only shoes we brought from home that fit her. It was funny how they stuck out from underneath the huge umbrella as she kicked them in excitement. It was all you could see of her. She kept trying to stick her head out to see where we were going. She loves the walks, and giggles and squeals as we walk along, which may be another reason why we get stared at!
I managed to step into a puddle of water and drench my feet and just washed jeans. Jeans that take 12 hours to dry here! I did not mind the rain so much; I have always loved walking in it and it was a warm rain. Many people were walking through it without umbrellas. It wasn’t until later this evening that the air grew chilly.
After our wet walk we tried to enter the apartment building with our purchases and could not manage the door. A young man held the door for us. He spoke to me in Estonian but when I said I did not understand he switched to English. I envy them the skill to speak more than one language and feel America does a great disservice to her citizens by not teaching them to get along in other countries, or perhaps parents should start when children are very young.
The young man asked if he could help me carry the stroller up the stairs and I declined stating that I would use the elevator, only after he left did I remember the stairs that led to the elevator. I had two large bags of groceries and did have a hard time carrying everything up. Next time I say yes.
The elevator door would not close because the bags were in the way; it is a very small and we barely fit in it. Riding in the elevator makes Amanda nervous and she goes through her litany of soothing rituals as we travel up to the 5th floor. I can’t tell you the relief we felt when we finally stepped through our apartment door.
We are at the end of another endless day, Amanda went down at 9:30 and it is now 12:15 PM. The sun is finally down enough for the outside lights to come on, I am thankful to the clouds that are blocking the sunlight, it feels like night here for the first time since we arrived. A perfect time to go to bed and sleep without the intrusion of the sun; I should not have taken that 2 hour nap, I am not sleepy! I would also sleep better if the people in the room next to me would stop talking loudly in the alcove and slamming doors, most younger people do not go to sleep until very late or should I say early in the morning.
Friday, June 27, 2008
For those families asking about children they hope to adopt, I tried to ask questions about them today but Igor was busy and could not talk. He has three families here right now, so he is working very hard. As in Ukraine with most people who helped us there, he seemingly runs everywhere, walking so fast I run to keep up, I thought I was used to chasing Yelena. No wonder they are thin and fit and I am not, perhaps I should try walking as fast as they back home, doing that while pushing a stroller should do it.Amanda played a bit and she wanted to be held a lot. I can tell she is scared and sad, but she is curious too, and she has been all over the apartment checking things out.
Of course I did not expect her to love me or even like me in 5 days time, and I understand her behavior, but it can hurt a little when they do not return it right away when you have loved them from afar for so long. My only experience with this is with Kara, and it did take a good 3 weeks for her to really warm up to us, some days she would crawl away and leave us siting where we were, but it was not until she came back to Peremoga with me that we truly began bonding, so I should lighten up and not expect miracles, right? I truly don't, I just want her to be happy, content. We have a while for that adjustment to be complete.
We got the Passport paperwork in, we can expect to get that next week. Amanda has her immunizations (worried about mercury, but I can't say no, and that irritates me, this is her long term health I am talking about) on Tuesday, we pick up the passport on Wednesday as well, and later that day we have an appointment for her exit Visa. I think we will have all of her paperwork to return to America by Friday, amazing how simplified this process is here. I have non-refundable tickets, not the changeable as we could not afford them, though we can change them for a fee, there is always a fee. I wonder what the charge would be to change them if we indeed could come home earlier? Although I do think I will enjoy site seeing and would love to take photos to remember Tallinn, I want them for Amanda as she gets older, where she was born is always going to be important to us, we will make sure she knows about her home country.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So thank you again for caring enough to read and post comments.
She has been ill one time, with a respiratory infection, and that was in 2005.
She needs 3 vaccinations, so her exit medicals will be $200. Exactly what I put aside, so I am pleased, it could have been so much more. We do have to go back next Wednesday the vaccines however, as they were out of one of them. We still need to exchange our USD for kroons. I will need 1996.00 kroon for the medical exam.
She still has a VSD and has not had any surgeries. It does not appear to cause her issues, the cardiologist who had seen her earlier this year did not want to follow up for 3 years with her, so I am hoping it is small. First thing to do once home is set up an appointment with her pediatrician and cardiologist.
Something that always struck me about her pictures was the size of her pupils when exposed to light, they remained very dilated, since she has been here they have gradually begun to react more normally, they do not constrict to a pinpoint, but you can see more of her pretty blue irises. May have been allergy meds she was on, she appears to have some allergic responses, sneezing, runny nose.
Her ears are clogged with wax, so we need to go to the drug store and buy something called REMOWAX to get it out, the doctor cannot see her eardrums. I noticed the gunk in her ears when I was editing pictures of her and saw it there. She is feisty, this will not be pretty.
She has perked up, a little more playful, and enjoying exploring our two rooms. She has played with a toy (threw it everywhere, but progress) and she is coming to me to be picked up. She came to me and smiled, put her arms up, I picked her up and was rewarded with a hug. She is learning I will take care of her, and that feels good. It shows she can attach to another person.
Self soothing behaviors abound with our sweet Amanda. Teeth grinding, blowing air from her nose forcefully (watch those boogies fly) making wheezy sounds, like Darth Vader, yes, exactly like that, but when he was dying. (sorry to be graphic, but it is exaclty how she sounds)Her lungs are fine though, a little mucous, but the doc said she is OK. She does these behaviors in sequence, and it is how I know she is feeling overwhelmed.
Then there are the raspberries, the mama, uhm uhm, and the finger on the lips and bebebebe. LOL. She does these when she is happy.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Look at Amanda's tiny little hands, she really is a delicate little girl. I can't wait to learn more about my new daughter, another adventure in learning who this sweet little angel is.
Right now Tom is at the American Embassy filling out his 1-600 portion and handing over his POA. I want to be brave about it, but I admit the thought of his leaving has made today bittersweet. I know it is only 12 more days, but let me tell you, it is difficult not to be with your spouse for that long, not to mention the rest of your family. Still, Amanda and I will have time to bond more and it will help on the long flight home. I can't wait to get her home to meet her family.
We did it, with prayers and help from so many people, we are her parents, PTL.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Amanda went to sleep almost 3 hours ago.
Daddy putting on Amanda's shoes, we took a walk to the mall to buy some food.
Monday, June 23, 2008
We are so grateful to Igor for taking us to the orphanage to see Amanda. I packed her duds because I had a feeling "going to see" meant taking her with us, and it did. She was so scared when I removed her clothes to dress her in the things we brought, and she clung to me for dear life as we exited the orphanage. The car terrified her, she began to cry as we left, but mama rubbed her head and soothed her. Once we got in the room, she began to relax and now she is playing with keys. She loves throwing things too, oh boy, so does Kara, can we say here and now that my house will never be clean again!
They were feeding her when we got there, she was eating from a spoon, very soft foods, but she ate them! I brought bottles too! So far she won't drink from a cup or a bottle though, probably wants juice. They told us she will not drink milk and really likes sweets. That combined with teeth gnashing may mean some major dental issues, Well, she will see her doctors when she gets home.
Tongue thrusting is more than an issue for her, she has a tongue Gene Simmons would envy, she can lick the bottom of her chin with it.
Tom will go to the store after the rain stops, it is pouring here, and on their holiday! Kind of sad for them, but maybe tomorrow will be better, the bonfires are tomorrow, we were hoping to go.
Amanda vocalizes a lot, babababa, mamama and some other fun sounds. She also makes a wheezy noise that at first is alarming, but is seems to be a verbal game she plays. Again with the doctor, they can listen. We expected to see a scar on her chest from her heart repair, but they must have repaired it through her femoral artery.
I don't think we need to say that she is adorable, because she sure is. She crawls a way I have not seen in a long time, kind of a butt-scoot crawl. We will upload a video later.
We are so happy, she is finally with us, she is all we dreamed she would be and more. Please pray all goes well in court Wednesday, because this angel needs to go home with mommy and daddy!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We had Jelena ( pronounced Yelena) here at Romeo apartments call Igor for us, he did not answer. She was uncertain whether we could pickup or even meet Amanda because tomorrow and Tuesday are a national holidays here in Estonia, you can read about it below. I am so tired that I can't see straight, I think Tom already fell asleep. This will be short.
6/21/2008 - 6/22/2008 Midsummer's Night
Countrywide, Estonia Celebrated throughout Estonia, Midsummer's Night is the celebration of the Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year. It is an ancient practice which dates back to pre-Christian times and has many rituals that are closely associated with nature and the hope for a good harvest in the autumn. It is a time to be with friends, family and loved ones and is usually celebrated with a big meal during the day before heading out to one of the many public parties which involve traditional dances and more eating, drinking and singing. Bonfires are also lit which is a ritual that links back to the old tradition of cleansing and warding off evil spirits