Sunday, October 4, 2009

One Step Closer

I did not get to post yesterday, but I wanted to share this Flip video with you. It is of Emma leaving her Baby Home for the last time!

Emma slept ok Friday night, but she was up from 11pm until 1am. We all finally fell back to sleep and slept until about 7am. On Saturday, we stayed in the hotel and had breakfast in the room. We played a little and had an early lunch in one of the hotel restaurants. At 11:30am, JC, our guide and the other Dad went to pick up the babies’ passports. I put Emma down for a nap, and she actually went down rather easily this time – she only cried about 2 minutes. JC returned at 1:30, and we all checked out at 2pm. Alex was back to get us at 2:45, and he took us straight to the train station.

We left Emma’s city of St Petersburg by train at 4pm heading to Moscow. The train ride was ok. It was very over-stimulating for Emma. Thankfully we had packed some food for her – enough for a snack and dinner. Around 8pm (her usual bedtime) she got very hyper. The lights on the train were extremely bright, the track was very bumpy, and people kept walking through our car. She would not settle down and became very agitated. We can tell that no one has really enforced “No” with her because when we say “no” in English or in Russian, she gets the biggest mischievous grin on her face and proceeds to do exactly what we don’t want her to do…including smacking me in the face multiple times. I had read about discipline being hard with newly adopted children, and I really didn’t consider this to be an issue for us since we have two boys. You know, we were thinking, we’ll know how to handle the discipline, right? Well, Miss Priss is going to give us a run for our money. She is used to getting her way – especially when she turns the grin on, and she obviously has been responded to when she cries because she wails every time we put her in the crib to go night night. We’ll get through this hurdle as well, but I have to admit that I was not exactly prepared to have to discipline for bad behavior right away.

We reached Moscow at 9:30pm. Our drivers were on the platform waiting for us, and they brought us straight to the hotel. We checked in, and thankfully the crib was in the room and ready for us. Again we battled with Emma, but she gave up and fell asleep after about 10 minutes. She slept until about 7am again. We are in the same Sheraton as before so JC walked across to Starbucks for coffee and tea.

Emma is an eater!!! We are not used to children actually eating what is put in front of them. Brendan and Jackson are very choosy when it comes to food. Emma eats EVERYTHING! She ate more than me this morning. She had ½ of a pastry, an entire cup of applesauce, a bowl of dry cheerios, and about 1/3 of my blueberry muffin.

It is cold here today…feels like 33 degrees Fahrenheit. We decided to stay in the hotel instead of going to Red Square (which is at least a 40 minute walk). We played in the room this morning, and we got out the umbrella stroller that we brought. We walked Emma and the other little boy through some of the hallways of the hotel, and they loved it. For lunch, JC and I walked with Emma to the grocery across the street (beside Starbucks) and bought some meat pies in the bakery and some cheese and some bananas. Again, Emma ate very well, but after lunch we struggled with putting her down. She is down now, but she just woke up after about 30 minutes and then cried for about 15 minutes before falling back to sleep. There is nothing that hurts me more than to hear that cry when a baby is in their crib trying to sleep. Emma has already learned that I will come and pick her up, but ultimately it makes it that much worse when I try to lay her back down.

The language barrier between us is almost too much to take. For example, it is so hard to tell Emma to go to sleep in Russian…it is supposed to sound like this: but I’m not sure I am saying it right. We are trying to work in “night night” as well to get her used to hearing that before laying her down. Also it is hard to praise her and also to discipline her because she has no idea what we are really saying. I am trying to put myself in her shoes. What would I think or feel if a family of Russians came and took me from my home and then couldn’t communicate with me? I’d be scared to death. We are trying very hard to hug and kiss and comfort Emma. I am not sure that she has truly begun to grieve for her old family, but at times we can tell she is confused.


At 4pm today, the lady who will help us through the US Embassy process is meeting us at our hotel. We have some more immigration forms to fill out, and we are hoping to get a better understanding of how much longer we’ll need to stay in Moscow. The other family has tickets to leave on Wednesday, and so far, no one has instructed them to change their flights. I am not sure why our agency told them to make arrangements to leave the 7th and for us to leave the 6th. Let’s just say that their mistake will cost us a few extra thousand dollars to book more airline reservations. Oh well…at this point I think we would pay anything to get back to NC to our boys. We miss Brendan and Jackson so much it makes my heart ache! When we know more about our departure, I will update you.

"Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed."
—Robert Gallagher







View from our room in St Petersburg. The gold dome in the middle is St Isaac's Cathedral.

alex and tania

At the train station with Tania and Alex.


Rachel said...

Despite your struggles with language and sleeping, it sounds like things are going pretty well. You (and she) are so lucky that it sounds like she was pretty well cared for in the baby home.

I know the language thing is hard, but she will pick it up quickly. Lily understood a lot of what we said by the time we left China (2.5 weeks after getting her).

Good luck with the transition and I hope you can come home soon!

Jodee Leader said...

So sorry to hear things are a little rocky right now. Hang in there!

3 Peanuts said...

COngratulations...she is so darling and I know this is a dream come true. I am HAPPY to help you any step of the way, friend. I am going to try to e-mail you.


Tara said...

Hopefully it will be a relatively short transition period for everyone. I'm sure you'll be more relaxed as parents when you are back in your own environment and there are fewer stressors. I know even when we go out of town, I am so happy to get Andrew back to where and what we know. As you know (better than me, I'm sure), consistency is sooo important with discipline, language, schedules, etc.

I hope somebody captures a picture of you and JC reuniting with the boys...that will be a special moment itself! I know y'all miss them so much and they miss y'all too!

Kristine said...

I believe that

spa koy nay no che

means good night or time to sleep.

With emphasis on spa and then no and che closely together as if they are almost one word...

hope this helps?!

She is precious and you are almost done...hang in there.


Stephanie said...

I think actions and facial expressions and your tone will speak louder than the words... she will get it in no time. Good luck with the struggles, and with getting home. I hope it's a quick and painless process.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations that you are back in Moscow with your sweet, sweet Emma. I continue to pray that you will be able to make the flight home and if not that things will go as smoothly as possible!

Blessings and Safe Travels, Ashley

Over-Caffeinated X 4 said...

Hey girl, I'm going to send you a separate e-mail privately. But hang in there. This is the HARDEST part of adoption... the wait is NOTHING compared to transition. Do the HARD work now, force yourself to go against every instinct and everything you know about disciplining biological kids and do the thing that works with newly adopted children. I think it's actually more effective to think of how you would want someone to treat your boys if all of a sudden one of them were to go live with a Russian family. Think of how you would want them to be treated by a Russian family if they were having trouble going to sleep at night. Don't worry about developing bad habits. Seriously, it's like having a newborn. SO many parents worry that they will get the child into a routine of expecting something they aren't willing to give for the long haul, but in truth, if you think of how you would want a Russian family to treat your youngest son at bedtime, that would be a much better guide for you than worrying about bad habits being formed. That's hard to do when you're exhausted. When she cries, it's probably not because she was responded to at night, it's probably because she's afraid. I am sure if your kids were in a new and strange environment, the way they act at bedtime would be totally disrupted and they would probably have tears, even if they don't have tears at home. When I would think of it from the perspective of one of my other kids, I would melt. It's truly enough to break your heart. No matter how much better the situation would be for them, imagine the stress and the patience you would want that family to have for them. I think for me, anyway, that was far more effective than thinking of how I would feel if it were me because I'm far tougher on myself than on my children.

Anyway, I have some activities you can do to help her know the boundaries without actually having to discipline her, if you need some other tricks up your sleeve. I am sure this unsolicited advice is exactly what you want to hear right now, right? :) It sounds like Emma is alot like Meg was. Meg was the meekest, most obedient little thing you've ever seen in the orphanage, before we got her into the car the day we left, she had already smacked me. Immediately our interpreter told me to hit her hand, but of course I didn't, what would that have taught her? (You hit me, I'll hit you? I'm pretty sure she had already learned that lesson in the orphanage.) I suspect her behavior is designed to charm you (in a manipulative way), not because she was constantly given into in the orphanage. Most kids immediately start to try all the limits and boundaries to see where the new lines are. These kids are so used to regimented and legalistic environment that when their schedule is upset, they don't know how to function, which is why you are seeing her trying on her coping skills. Literally, every single moment of her life has been scripted up until now. She knew what to expect in every instant of the day, there were no good and bad days, no fun and not so fun days, every day has been exactly the same.

Okay, enough from me... I am sorry, I could go on and on and on... it's just that I find that agencies don't do too good a job in preparing families for this particular part of the journey and the behavior you are seeing is actually quite typical. When you get home, if you need help or have questions, I am more than happy to help you out. I have tons of books and been to hundreds of hours of bonding and attachment workshops. There are simple, fun, easy games you can play with Emma to demonstrate boundaries but show her affection at the same time. Just let me know if you want anything.

I'm praying for you and JC. I know how hard and stressful this is. You are in the home stretch and the hardest work is before you. You just want to get home to your boys and start your life and I don't blame you! Hang in there! This too shall pass.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Congrats!!! Sorry I have been a little behind here on your journey....just catching up tonight!!

She is just precious....that smile and those big eyes just go straight to my heart.

The language barrier has to be tough....but as everyone else has said, they are young and pick things up so quickly. In no time she will be adjusted to your words and tonality.

Hoping you can get home soon!

Hugs and Prayers,


Carrie said...

Hi! I was blog hopping tonight and discovered yours. Congratulations!! Emma is just beautiful. This part of the trip is so hard. (I have 2 from Russia). But hang in there. Everyday gets better. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Jackie said...

Hang in there!! I pray your travel dates are settled very very soon!

Jo said...

So happy to hear that you are moving {slowly} along.

Behaviors are difficult ~ I deal with them daily. If you need suggestions, I'd be more than happy to offer a few and even lead you to a couple of good books.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers ~

Heather said...

I am sure there will be a difficult transition time, but I am so happy for you and look forward to reading more.

findingourdaughter said...

I hope you guys get to leave for home soon! I can only imagine how anxious you are to get home, get into a normal routine and everything will be so much better and easier then.
Congratulations on Gotcha day! Praying for a smooth and speedy journey home for you all!
God Bless!

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