Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A moment together

Day 24
With less than a week left on our first trip to Kazakhstan, our wonderful interpretor Makhabbat was able to sneak mom and Calvin another visit with Garrett. It was so wonderful to have both of my boys in the same room, though Calvin was so wired after an hour sitting in the car that he was more like a blur as he ran back and forth across the activity room playing with one toy and then another. Thank heavens for that activity room!
We were originally placed in the music room with the french couple, but it became clear after only a few moments that my 3-year-old tornado of activty was more than that room could handle. He toppled stacks of toys, shrieking happily that he was a bowling boy, and pretended to be a tiger in the "jungle" of prize plants he caretakers have so neatly displayed in the corner. When he almost ran over the french man's hand with a toy car, we called Makhabbat back and begged her to find us a room where Calvin could play without upsetting anyone. Those of you who know Makhabbat will remember that she is quite a joker. Whether it is her own particularily dry sense of humor or simply a Kazakhstani thing, I don't know, but you can never tell when Makhabbat is playing a joke on you. She has an absolute poker face and seems to relish watching you squirm until she lets you in on her joke. Today was no exception. Pretending not to understand our request, Makhabbat told Mom and Calvin to come with her. She said that she knew a shop in downtown Schuchinsk where Mom could take Calvin grocery shopping. She completely ignored our protests and led a heartbroken Nana out of the room, indicating that she would return with them when our time was up. About 10 minues later, Makhabbat came back for us and told us that the activity room was now free for me, Tim, and Garrett to play in. Still hoping to secure mom's early release from her forced shopping trip, I told Makhabbat how much mom had been looking forward to seeing Garrett and that I hoped that they wouldn't be gone too long. Before I could finish pleading, however, Mak opened the door to the activity room to reveal Calvin frolicking in the ball pit and mom waiting excitedly on the couch. No shopping in downtown Schuchinsk after all. Makhabbat fooled me again!
Instead of leading mom and Cal out to a muddy hour of walking in Schuchinsk, St. Makhabbat had brought them down to the activity room to join the big kids for the last 10 minutes of their activity time. Calvin was in heaven with all the kiddos and, as if to test us, he and Sasha picked each other out from the crowd and started playing together. That's Cal and Sasha together on the strange blue and orange "kid's tredmill."Then, while Calvin frolicked like a little colt around the playroom, Sasha turned those deep brown eyes on my mom and handed her a ball with a small hopeful smile. Mom and Sasha played ball for the last few minutes of the group's play session.
That is one sweet little guy! All the little ones here are sweet, mind you, but Sasha is different because you can tell that he really wants a family. Most of the other kids seem pretty content at the babyhouse. But Sasha seeks you out when you come into a room. He watches you, smiles, and tries to engage you. He understands. It's that little flicker of hope in him that says "maybe you're here for me!" that really gets to me. So I'm counting on one of you to write me back and let me know that you are frantically assembling your dossier and will come get him! Otherwise I might just lose my mind at the thought of little Sasha spending his childhood in increasingly depressing orphanages! How can you say 'no' to a sweet little orphan, who quite literally, doesn't have a single person to love him?!!
Sorry. I'll pull myself together...back to my little family.
So we were all together for one brillant hour, Calvin happily swinging from the gymnastics equipment then taking a running leap into the ball pit. For the first half hour he was so eager to play that he hardly seemed to notice that any of the rest of us were there, even that new baby brother he has been hearing so much about. Garrett, who is still recovering from a little cold which the caregivers blame on his first excursion into the dangerous and frigid outdoors, snuggled with Nana while Tim and I chased after Calvin. While we were all playing together, Makhabbat showed back up and motioned that Tim should come with her. Like all of Makhabbat's summons, they are to be obey instantly and without question. Mom and I watched mutely as he left. He returned several minutes later with news from the kitchen. With the donation money we gave to the babyhouse, the director bought two new food preparation tables and a new water heater for the kitchen. It was a sheer coincidence that the babyhouse needed new kitchen equipment and that the donation for that purchase came from a chef, but the combination of the two factors led the staff to break their taboo on outsiders in the kitchen. Tim was invited in. Here is what he saw...
These two stoves cook breakfast lunch and dinner for the 30-50 children at this facility as well as the staff. We are constantly seeing caretakers hurrying from the kitchen with a stack of 3 or 4 lidded tin pots with a loaf of bread balanced on top, but we had never seen the kitchen, not even in pictures. I, of course, had witnessed the (excuse me for saying so) horrid sour milk porriage and compote that Garrett eats every day. That very day, in fact, I got to feed him the first time.
Anyway, back in the activity room...
When Calvin calmed down a little, he realized that there was a baby in the room and, momentarily at least, broke from his intense activity to hand Garrett several balls from the ball pit. Calvin then informed me, in the manner of a judge issuing a verdict, that Garrett's favorite color is green, just like Cal's. He nodded his approval and was off again racing full speed towards the slide, but in that moment I saw the fraternal bonds between my two little sons forged. I could have staying in the activity room all day. Calvin was happy playing with all the new toys. Garrett was happy watching Calvin. Tim, Nana, and I were happy just having all of us together. It was our very own moment of utopia here in the former USSR.
Eventually, however, it had to end and Makhabbat was back all too soon announcing "Posh lee, Ruslan. Spat!" (Let's go, Ruslan. To sleep!). Calvin didn't see the point in kissing his baby brother, but gave in at the insistence of all of the adults. Then we were off across the vast steppe with only the promise of hot chai and a nap for Calvin awaiting us at the cottage. By the way, this is the way that tired kiddos ride here in Kazakhstan. Calvin loves it and it will definately take some doing to get him to sit in the car seat again!It was a great day. I can't wait to have my boys home together!

Love you all!



Dean and Janie said...

Dear Becca,

"How endearing" isn't enough! Thank you for sharing these precious moments and positive attitude as well as educating us on situations we might find ourselves in when we go to Kaz. Do you have any way of knowing whether or not anyone has inquired at WPA about Sasha? Isn't that the only agencie that allows referrals?

Snyders2Kaz said...

Hi Janie,
I know for a fact that Sasha is available for adoption and that no one has asked for him! WPA says that they don't have anyone waiting for a 3-year-old boy. I don't know your situation, but if you have any interest in this charming little guy ask your agency what they can do to help!
Take Care,

Sam, Ryan and Gabby said...

I loved seeing the boys together, how sweet is Calvin with Garrett! Sasha is breaking my heart though! Tim and the kitchen equipment is a sign, I tell you, everything happens for a reason. We miss you all and can't wait to meet Garrett! Hugs & kisses from Gabby.
Sam, Ryan, & Gabbs

Anonymous said...

I love the pix with your family you guys. You're all perfect together and what sweet brothers Garrett and Calvin are! I love the picture where Garrett is looking over at his big bro-darling. I can't wait to see you. Love, Tiff

Lou Ann said...

Beautiful family!!!You are all so blessed to be able to share this wonderful time together. Enjoy it!

Lou Ann & Lexie

PS - I would love to come get Sasha to join my Kazakh Princess and I but I haven't even started the paperwork yet. I'll have to check on him when I'm closer to number two. For his sack though I hope he's found a forever family.

patrice said...

I'm so glad that Kathy and Cal got to join you today. Those moments as a fivesome have been rare and are so precious.
Love you,
Aunt Patrice