The kids were outside when we arrived at the orphanage for our 10th day of visitation. They were all helping to sweep, pick up litter, and generally tidy the grounds in preparation for the upcoming holiday. (Kazakhstan's Day of the Republic falls on October 25; it's a big day here—no school for the kids and a performance that we're looking forward to when we visit.) The weather was perfect, much warmer, and it was nice to be outside with the boys for a few minutes, enjoying the crisp air and the beautiful view of the mountains. Aniyar and Madiyar greeted us warmly and escorted us inside. We were led to the Green Room for this visit; it's the recreation room that the boys use. It's a big, bright room with comfortable couches and rugs on the floor. Madiyar brought a friend along to join us; I suspect he had promised his pal some videogame time but when he realized we had brought more Lego sets and not the GameBoys, he was miffed. When I offered him the robot building set we'd brought, he steadfastly ignored me...the funny part was that the other boy clearly wanted to build the robot...but Madiyar was holding out for electronics. I told him if he didn't want what we'd brought, that was fine and I put the set back in my bag. Then Craig and I settled down to play with Aniyar who was all smiles as usual. Madiyar and his friend wandered around the room, looked out the window, and even wandered out of the room a few times before they decided building a robot was the best deal they were going to get.
As the older boys sat down and began to build Madiyar's robot, Aniyar turned to me and said, “Look, Mama, Madiyar is happy again.” and gave me a grin and a thumbs-up...very cute. With the mood du jour over, the rest of our visit was fun. The boys made animals out of the modeling clay I had brought and shot plastic balls at each other from their robots. Aniyar showed us the dance he had learned for the performance and both boys showed us that they can stand on their heads; then Craig stood on his head and everyone was duly impressed. Dad's still got it...he's wrestling with the boys and swinging them around in circles; the boys love the physical stuff.
As for me, I sit on the sofa and visit with my friends, Tatyana and Natasha. Tatyana is an English teacher in Ridder who helps us communicate here; Natasha is the Ministry of Education official who supervises our visits. I'm so pleased that these ladies seem to have accepted us. Natasha now says she knows the boys will have a good life with us and she's working hard to be well prepared for our day in court. I'm touched and honored by her trust in us.
At the end of our visit, we were led to the director's office where we found him hard at work on our behalf as well, preparing documents and records to be filed with the court for our adoption. We signed some docs and then they realized a document was missing...so the director joined us in our car and we drove to to the ministry office to retrieve the missing record. It was the end of his day and he didn't have to do this for us...but he, too, is being very supportive. In addition, we've come to realize he's just a very nice guy who seems to care greatly about the kids in his care.
I have to say that with all the other good things that happened on this day, the very best thing was finally talking to our kids back at home. The forgotten cell phone arrived via DHL and we were able to hear our kids' voices for the first time in almost two weeks. Kate, Tanya and Max—Talking to you was the greatest gift; it brought tears to my eyes...we miss you all so very much!
You know, it's not just our kids that we like hearing from...thanks for the good wishes via email and comments on the blog from all of you! It keeps us going to hear from friends and family at home and we want you to know how much your support means to us. We love you guys!