We are back in Moscow after spending three wonderful days with our boy. We arrived by train to Smolensk on Monday morning and checked into the Tsentralnaya hotel. All in all the conditions are good. It is a clean room with a large bed and a refrigerator for snacks. The lady on our floor is very pleasant and the hotel is quiet. Probably only complaint would be that it stays light very late - past 11 pm and the curtains don't block out the light. But, Ambien takes care of that worry as well!
On to the good stuff. We saw our son for about 7 or 8 hours over three days. The first visit of the first day he was shy and downcast. He would play with the toys and respond to the translator, but was very shy. Sean got the first laugh out of him playing on the slide. He also learned to understand his first english - Do you want to do it again? We were lucky to have good weather and be able to play with him on the playground for over an hour.
On the second visit of the first day, he warmed up much more quickly. He liked the goldfish and played with the sippy cup - lid on take a drink, lid off take a drink. He loves the See and Say and we had a lot of fun with that. We had labeled the animals in Russian, so that we could interact with him. This worked out well. His groupa came to the playground during part of our visit. They all were interested in us and wanted attention. T wasn't too fond of that and would walk off and pout! We took him to another area of the playground to read books and play.
He loves machinas, and is very interested in any cars coming and going. He oohs and aahs a lot. He has a great vocabulary and became talkative to us and to the translator. When it was time to go to dinner, he shook his finger at the translator and said LATER! (in russian of course).
On the second day, he warmed up quickly and the caregivers shared some stories about him. He is "the best" and "very intelligent" and "very handsome". They care so much about these kids and do the best with what they have. We played with a shape sorter, machinas and balls. He is good at making up games and very engaging. He picked up very quickly on the shape sorter. Even testing Sean and the translator on it.
We made him a book of picture of us, the kids, grandparents, his room and our home. He could identify most people and loved the pictures. He liked that the book has a handle - and he calls it a book instead of kneega. The translators laughed that even his Russian now has a Texas accent.
The last day we only got one visit because we had to spend the morning doing the official paperwork to petition to adopt him. We also went to the market to get chocolates for the caregivers and fruit and juice for the kids. The most heartbreaking moment of the whole trip was feeding T a banana. He would take such big bites, and just couldn't get enough fast enough. We promised him all the bananas he could ever eat someday. Other than that, we had another wonderful day. He began to pack up the backpack to move when he saw his groupa coming, he even shook his fist at them and said my mama! He allowed Sean to rock him like a baby, playing peek a boo. It was such a neat sight to watch my husband and son bonding. We gave him a small blanket that has a monkey head and tail on it and he LOVED it. He was very caring to it, putting it to bed, swinging it. He definitely has a good range of emotion and empathy for others.
We were so lucky on this trip. The staff let us keep him for a long time each day, and we had full run of the playground. He really opened up to us by the last day and was so funny. We loved watching him interact with the translator, very verbal and antimated when he talks. As we walked him to dinner for the last time, he ran to the caregiver with the monkey and the picture book and said "look what my mama presented to me!".
We hope to be back here in July. It won't be soon enough, but we are so happy to know that he is in a place with people who care and will care for him the best that they can until we can get back to him.
today we are resting - this has been such an emotional journey that we are worn out. I am so glas that we did our touring of Moscow on the front end of the journey. I don't think we would have been up for it otherwise. So, we will relax tonight and head back to the states tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone for the emails, comments, thoughts and prayers!