Thursday-We met with lots of other families at the SDA in a tiny, tiny waiting room to get our official referral. Our facilitator joked that we will not "meet with" Eva, but only "meet" her because she will be afraid at first and give us a dirty look. True dat:)
Getting the referral went smoothly, and then we hopped in a van for our 9 hour trip to Eva Claire's home town. On the way we stopped for dinner and Daniel got to enjoy beef potato cakes and salo! I turn into Rain Man when I'm over here, and I eat smoked salmon and a greek salad every time we eat out. Here's our delicious cuisine, and be jealous, this is where we ate:
I joked that we were sat in Lenin's section. He was, indeed, over our shoulders the whole evening.
We met with the director of the orphanage. He is so kind and works so hard for these kiddos! A good man:)
Then we followed our facilitator (whom I adore-have I mentioned how wonderful she is? I need to do a post about her soon) to Eva Claire's room. When we arrived, Eva was wide-eyed and scared, which was not a surprise. Her caregivers told us that they've been calling her by her new name and having her imitate 'Eva' to her to help her get adjusted. So sweet! They are all wonderful women!
When Daniel saw her for the first time, he said, "Aww, she's so precious!" It was love at first sight:) On our side, hehhehe. She's still not sure about us.
She cried on and off for most of our two hour visit. It was very typical of a little one. She would cry; get distracted and dry it up; remember she was upset; and cry again. Big, fat tears.
This video is what things were like the first hour or so. Daniel and I stayed back and tried to talk/smile/entertain...but you see it's hard to comfort someone when a) you scare them, in fact you are the source of their discomfort; b) you don't know comforting Russian words so you coo or murmur Runglish to her; and c) the things that you would typically do (hold, rock, murmur sweet nothings) would really send her over the edge.
We did play some games with her and held her hands. Her caregiver placed her hands in ours. It was sweet for us, but stressful for her. I still want to be slow and deliberate about introducing touch and affection. She was weary but curious with the games. She didn't want us touching her unless she was distracted.
Her caregivers saved the visit by turning on Tom and Jerry. I kid you not. That girl loves some Russian-over-English Tom and Jerry. Who wouldn't? Daniel joked that she's like me: she loves slapstick! I'm also hoping that the English in the background will be soaking in.
This video is her watching Tom and Jerry, with us sitting right in front of her. She would be absorbed by the Koushka (transliterated loosely 'cat') and Moushka (""mouse) while Daniel held her hand and I massaged her legs. I couldn't help it. The therapist in me was itching to check out her knee flexion. I did check and see how much movement she had, just not to end range. It's pretty limited. Her hips, however, have more range than a Russian gymnast's.
FOR MY SLP LADIES: She is drinking chai (black tea) through a glass bottle with a 3mm hole in the nipple. Her caregivers just told us that she's starting to eat baby foods/purees. She was fed from an 8-10 oz bowl full of white and brownness, with a spoon that was so big it would have cut the corners of my mouth. She would let her caregiver give her a bite, but would pocket or just let the food lie still. She's still resistive to eating solids apparently. I'd say she 'ate' about 3-4 oz WHILE watching Tom and Jerry. I tried to show her caregiver how to facilitate a swallow (I know, I know, give it up) and instead of a gentle downward stroking, we got a tap-tap on the ole' larynx:)
For those of you who've done this before, you'll know that we have another visit with her today from 4-6 pm. Maybe we'll get some more footage then.
Also, I don't want anyone reading this to think that we're upset by her attitude towards us. Honestly, I think that it's appropriate developmentally and environmentally. She was in medical isolation for about two years. She's been in her baby room since June. Since that transition, she's met so many more new people and has started babbling and imitating words. We are strangers to her who speak a different language and represent a HUGE change and perceived threat for little miss who likes to take baby steps. If I were her, I would be weary of us too. We are praying that God builds trust in our relationship as a new family in His time. We hope that's soon, but we know it's a process. And we are looking forward to earning her trust and love because it's always best from those that play hard to get:)