Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last day in the nursery

Trip 2 Day 6 (Part 1- from an internet cafe in Almaty... because we have no internet (or hot water) at the apartment.)

How momentous and wonderful and absolutely frazzling have the last two days been for my little family. Wow. Garrett Ruslan Snyder is finally ours full time and for real!
Caroline and I drove to the baby house in Schuchinsk for the last time yesterday morning. Nursultan’s van was packed to the gills because also in the van was Shizada, Makhabbat, Terri, all of Terri’s luggage, and all of our luggage. It was Terri’s court date as well as our “pick up” date, so both of us were heading to the airport after the baby house to catch various flights across the country (us) and around the world (Terri). Adding to the chaos was the fact that a new adoptive mother was arriving in town, and needed to be escorted to the baby house after Terri’s court time but before our departure. Makhabbat and Shizada couldn’t move quickly enough in the day’s family shuffle.
So Nursultan dropped Caroline and me at the front door of the babyhouse, while the rest of the gang headed to the court. It was bittersweet and wonderful knowing that I was walking down the faded turquoise hallway for the last time past the mural showing the smiling children of the world. This is the place where babies come from (according to Calvin) and there is a certain magical truth in that.
So, terrified of 10+ hours at the airport waiting for our late night flight, we convinced the baby house staff to allow us one more play session with Garrett in the music room, followed by one last baby house nap and feeding for Garrett before we headed to the airport. Garrett was so glad to see us again and, being totally unaware of the huge journey ahead of him, played and laughed and squealed just like the happy little cherub he is. When our playtime was over we returned him to the nursery, much to the confusion of the caregivers, who apparently had not been informed of our grand plan. I pantomimed returning in two hours and eventually they understood that I was indeed going to come back for my son!
Unfortunately, this is where the complicated shuffle of families in and out of Schuchinsk put a snag in our plans. Understanding that we would be through with our visit just as Terri got out of court, we had planned on having lunch with Terri, Makhabbat, and Shizada and then returning for Garrett. So Caroline and I sat on the warped blue bench in front of the babyhouse and waited for them to return. We waited and waited and waited. We watched the elderly staff member in charge of gardening methodically fill buckets from a nearby tap and slowly water a rectangular patch of dahlias she had just finished replanting. Caroline attempted to take a nap on the sunny little bench but the sight of one of us laying down drew such disturbed fascination from the caregivers passing through the court yard that I woke her up fearing that our reputation was at stake. Eventually, one of the babyhouse cleaning women came over to sit next to us. She spoke no English at all but we chatted anyway, using Caroline’s Russian phrase book to try to explain why we were sitting in the courtyard. Snatching up the phrasebook, the cleaning woman proceeded to flirt with one of the workmen who was making repairs to the building. With our pronounciation help, she told the worker that she loved him, that he should kiss her and then marry her. He, of course, had no idea what she was saying, so the three of us women laugh riotously between translations. Our hilarity caught the attention of the other cleaning women who all set down their bucket and came over to sit in the sun with us. We listened to them chatter and soaked up the rays of the warm spring day until Nursultan arrived almost an hour later. Little did we know it, but the time for lunch had come and gone. Terri went in to see Dylan (now officially her son) and Makhabbat and Shizada escorted the new mom into the babyhouse, stopping briefly at our bench to explain that we should pick up a quick lunch at a café and then come back for Garret and go to the airport. I was a little startled at the change of plans. “Are you going to be here when we pick up Garrett?” I asked Makhabbat. “No,” she said “I must go with the new lady.” And that was that. We hugged Makhabbat and thanked her for everything and a bit flustered headed off to a new car that had just pulled up for us and into which Nursultan was putting our luggage. We drove off to the café and that was the last I saw of the woman who had been our friend and daily companion in this life changing adventure. Sad, really, but life goes on.
We popped into Tim’s favorite “skulka” café and then went next door to the pharmacy to pick up the baby food that we would need for Garrett. We ate hurriedly on the short drive back to the babyhouse and then went in alone to take Garrett out.
Garrett was just finishing his last babyhouse lunch of compote and sour milk porridge. With my heart racing faster than usual, I changed him and kissed him and told him to say “paka.” Then, trying not to cry, I asked the caregivers if I could get a picture of them with Garrett. They set down the other children they were feeding and obliged. The taller of the two stroked Garrett’s head as I took him back and told me “on harashow malchilk” (he’s a good boy). I smiled and we left. On our way out of the babyhouse we stopped by the director’s office to thank him one last time and to give him the donation that my sisters in law so kindly put together. We took a picture with him and the babyhouse doctor and then all spent a moment “spaceeba-ing” (thanking) each other. The babyhouse doctor told me that I should come back for a girl next time. We all laughed and then we headed out the door .
More tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

I love you so much and I am so proud of you. - Tim

Jennifer M said...

I'm in tears. What a bittersweet end of one lifetime and start of another. You so beautifully captured so much. I felt like I was there and a part your life, but also remembering my own memories. Thank you.

And now you're in Almaty! Yay!

Anonymous said...

Wow - quite the whirlwind yet monumental day. I can't wait to hear more in person...

Congrats and good luck navigating the rest of the trip. Hopefully you'll all have a chance to relax along the rest of the way. (How ignorant is that statement, I wonder, with a baby, luggage & airports/airplanes across the world to conquer?)

M&M's waiting for you went you get home... CAS

Rayna said...

wow, i can only imagine the mixture of emotions you must be feeling. good luck the rest of the way!

Anonymous said...

What an extremely long day you had! I think they need to at least turn the hot water and internet on for you!
I am thinking non-stop about you, Garrett and Caroline and can't wait until 12:05 Sat at SFO. Keep that beautiful smile on your face and bring your darling son home to those who wait.
I love you!

Holly said...

Hurry home!

ault family said...

Wow, what a full range of emotions. How silly a time you had with the workers. It reminds me of when we got a small Russian phrase book and my husband was trying pick up lines on me. I had no idea what he was saying, but it was sure funny. :)

Good luck with the rest of your journey. He's almost home!!

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes! What an overwhelming and exciting day, just what becoming a new mom to a baby is all about. We are praying for your safe trip home and can't wait to meet Garrett soon!
Sam, Ryan, and Gabby

Channing said...

Wow, he's really and truly yours! I hope they showed you how to swaddle him at the babyhouse or that you and Caroline have found another way for Garrett to sleep! Can't wait to hear it all from you live and in person in just a few days.

You're amazing for what you have done. I'm very proud of you, Bec.

Dean and Janie said...

Just lovely Becca. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful "life-filled" story.