Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye to the Fir Tree

Yesterday when we arrived at the baby house, it was to meet Denis' favourite caregiver rushing around as the children were going to see a special fairy tale. The children were all dressed in their finest clothes and were all beautifully groomed. We went into the music room and I was given permission to stay and watch. The children sat on benches and the nurses did the fairy tale.

First they told the story in Kazakh, then they repeated the story in Russian. It is the story of a little girl who goes into the woods to get a fir tree to decorate for the New Year. At the first tree she finds and decides to cut down she is stopped by the squirrel/chipmunk (or maybe a bird I couldn't quite see) that lives in the tree. At the second tree she is stopped by the fox who lives by the tree and at the third tree she is scared away by a bear. Upset that she can't find a tree she meets up with Father Frost who rewards her with a tree because she was kind and thoughtful to the animals of the woods when they asked her not to take their trees. Or I should say this is my understanding of the play without being given a translation.

After the 2 versions of the story, the caregivers gave each of the children an ornament to put on the little tree that they had used in the play. Then they all recited a poem and the lights on the tree came on. The children who had learned a poem or song during the Christmas/ New Year season were invited to stand up and recite the poem or sing the song, about 5 children spoke or sang. And finally all the children were given some treats to eat.

Before they left the music room, all the children recited a poem about the fir tree going away for another year and that it will return next year. There is a big decorated fir tree in the music room, on Friday the staff will be taking it down. They caregivers wanted to have a special ceremony to help the children understand. It was delightful.

The children, about 20 or so, probably 3 groups, were very well behaved. The oldest were under 4 and the youngest around a year and a half. I realize how far behind Denis is in his speech as 2 of his group mates were able to say a poem of 4 to 6 lines on their own, Denis uses a rare word spontaneously.  Then again, many of the children were silent for the entire time, not even mouthing the poems recited as a group, I think many have speech delays.  I can also see the problem in that the two groups 7 and 8 were together for the past 9 months or so and they would have had both Kazakh and Russian spoken to them all the time, it must have been confusing. Now I've added English to the mix. It is evident that Denis understands what is said to him as he does exactly as he is told.

After the play the children returned to their group area for afternoon meal. Today it was a roll filled with a cabbage, onion and carrot mixture and some biscuits and warm milk. As he was eating Yulia and I told Denis that I would be coming for 2 more visits and then I would be away for a many days. I used your phrases Amy about getting his bed ready and buying toys (his eyes lit up with that one). He also closed his eyes and pretended to sleep as Yulia was speaking to him, I know closing his eyes is one of Denis' coping mechanisms, I saw that a lot in the very early days of my visits. Then it was time to say goodbye for the day. I brought him back to his friends where they were eating in their little dinning room. His caregiver told him to blow kisses to his mama, which he very happily did.

So I have 2 more visits before I leave. Today I will go and buy a stuff toy for him for when I am gone. Thanks Diane for the encouragement.

I've pretty much packed everything and made the apartment as clean as I can. I did my final load of my laundry yesterday only to think I'd be returning home without all those clothes. The washing machines are front loaders here, but unlike at home, once you start them going they lock and cannot be opened until the wash finishes. I started the wash about and hour and 45 minutes before I needed to leave to go for lunch yesterday, the wash was suppose to take one hour and 20 minutes. At 11 (I needed to be out of the apartment at 11:25) the wash had 2minutes to go, great I thought, it will finish and I can hang the wash up to dry before I go. At 11:25 the wash was still going and still had 2 minutes to go, I was afraid if I left it, the machine would still be going when I came back from lunch, so I unplugged the machine. After lunch I plugged the machine back in and it said it had 3 minutes to go, 45 minutes later it was finally done. Whew, I was so happy to get my clothes back.  I will be doing some more laundry before I go, but only with towels and linen from the apartment.

Oh and there is no heat, or barely any heat and no hot water in my apartment today. They are replacing the chimney for the boiler, so of course the work is being done now in January when the night time low goes to -26 or so. The apartment isn't actually cold, more in line with the temperature we'd have our home, but after the heat of the past 9 weeks it feels chilly.

And my other complaint is I think I've lost my satellite tv again. I don't know if it is time for the monthly payment, which wouldn't make sense to pay as I'm leaving tomorrow. Can you see me, no heat, no tv and the internet wouldn't stay connected, I was not a happy camper. I ended up going to bed at 9, I was so tired I think I went out like a light. But as the saying goes, early to bed early to rise, I was up just before 6 am our time.

I have to go the notary today to do something and I need to do paperwork for Denis' entry visa to Canada and today the judge is suppose to sign the adoption into reality as the 15 day appeal period ended yesterday. Tomorrow I go sign for his birth certificate, which here in Uralsk has to be done by the parents in person. And then I will have done everything I need to do.

I will have a visit today and a visit tomorrow and then I will be going home for the month.

Paka paka


Nicole said...

I'm so excited for him to get here!!!

russalka said...

My dear friend! Don't you worry about him not speaking! He just doesn't want to and holding back)))))My son didn't talk till 3yo until we bought an apartment and moved out from my parents. And the very next day he woke me up in the morning saying: wake up mommy, spring is come! can you imagine?????
And I have a suggestion: what if you buy Denice little calendar and stickers to mark off days you gone? Would it help him to wait for you?
Be strong and try not to cry too much ;))))))

russalka said...

OMG! I spelled his name wrong, sorry! It's Denis and I don't know why I spell it like this((((( Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Michele, isn't just amazing the lengths the caregivers go to to make the children feel cared for and special! I found it just amazing when I was in Karaganda (even though my daughter was too little to attend any of the special concerts) to know that the children were treated to special performances and given opportunities to celebrate. When you read about some of the conditions in the orphanages from some other countries, you really appreciate the way Kazakhstan cares for their orphaned children. Of course, your son's next celebration is coming soon when he finally leaves for his forever family! Can't wait!