Alison's Journey Home: An Adoption Story - Page 6
Well, we woke up to snow today, but it didn't last very long. I met a really great woman, Amy Von Blon, from Houston, Texas. Her husband Michael came in for court, and then went back to Houston (they have five kids at home). Amy's great... she and I have been hanging, and her son, Michael, is just a few months older than Alison. She gets to leave about five days before I do, but she's still here for about another week.
Alison and Michael slept in the same room at the orphanage, so we'll make sure they're lifelong friends.
We all went shopping today. I've attached a picture of the gang bundled up and ready to spend some of those tenge (pronounced teng-gay, Kazakhstan currency). The exchange rate is currently 145 tenge to the dollar.... needless to say, I spend a lot of tenge!
We went to the central market today, which is sort of like a mall, only different. I guess you had to be there. On the way, there were local artists displaying their work on the sidewalk and I bought a couple of paintings with local flavor. They'll look great in my house. Don't ask how I'm going to get them home! Though I do have a duffel bag that was filled with orphanage donations on the way over that I can fill with stuff to bring home...
I already have something else difficult to transport that I bought a couple of days ago. A WorldClassRock.com listener who has been reading this my adoption journal wrote commenting on Alison's long musician-like fingers, and asked what her first instrument will be. Well, I bought a dombro (I think that's what it's called). It's a beautiful two-stringed guitar-like Kazakhstani instrument made of wood. I'm hoping I can wrap it up really good and stick in smack dab in the middle of that duffle bag with a lot of padding and it'll make the journey from Kaz to Moscow to Frankfurt to Miami to Los Angeles in one piece. (Am I nuts???)
At the central market, I bought a lot of souvenirs as gifts (yes, I know I'll be home right before Christmas) and things for Alison to have as she grows up, so she'll know about her homeland. I also bought myself some jewelry. I spent about $50 US dollars for a sapphire ring and necklace. Alison particularly likes the necklace. I can tell because she keeps trying to grab it from around my neck. I promised her that it's hers when she gets older. I guess motherhood has made me very generous!
I got a bunch of matroiska dolls (I'm sure I spelled that wrong), and I don't even know what else. I haven't had a chance to go through all. But I think I bought out the store, and it came to something like 22,000 tenge... about $150! I also bought Alison a traditional Kazak vest and hat that look so cute on her. I'll have to have her pictures taken in them when we get home.
Regarding the sleeping arrangements, my normally very happy, giggly little girl turns into the tantrum monster when it's time to go to sleep. She just wants to be held and rocked!
Last night I finally rocked her to sleep sitting on the sofa in the living room of the apartment where we're staying, and set her down. I think since she was used to sleeping in such a tiny crib in the orphanage, she's used to a confined space, and the bed gives her too much room to thrash about (and thrash about she does!). So, I brought the comforters and pillows from the beds and laid them out on the floor next to the sofa, and slept there. I have a two-bedroom apartment here in Almaty and I'm sleeping on the floor! It's amazing what motherhood does to you.
I've been silent for a few days. That's because my little one hasn't! She's had a cold and cough since I took her from the orphanage, and the cough medicine, vitamins and Tylenol I've been giving her haven't been helping much. The last time I wrote, I was off for a day of shopping and a massage at the Arasan Baths. It's a beautiful old building that has Russian baths downstairs and Turkish baths upstairs. (Don't ask me the difference... we tried the Russian baths. You know, when in Rome... er, Kazakhstan.)
It cost about $3 to enter (480 tenge), and the massage was 1500 tenge ($10.34)... and was one of the best massages I've ever had!
I paid the price when I got home. Alison was cranky all night (this was Friday). I think she slept pretty well that night, but woke up yesterday crying so hard...and nothing I could do would calm her. My normally voracious eater was also pushing food away, and her cough and cold were still bad. So, I decided to have a doctor examine her.
I called Galiya (my goddess of Kaz... the coordinator for our agency here) and she told me she had a pediatrician who would make a house call, and they'd be to my apartment within the hour.
Meanwhile, Alison was getting worse and worse. Screaming, and completely inconsolable. I lost it! I started crying harder than she was. She stopped crying and looked at me with those big eyes and started touching my tears. (I was holding her this whole time, as she wouldn't let me put her down.) I think my sobbing either scared her or felt good against her chest.
Galiya and the doctor arrived, who examined Alison, confirmed my suspicion that she probably had an ear infection, gave me a powerful antibiotic (the doctor said they used cheap, ineffective medicines in the orphanage), ear drops, nose drops, and two things for her stomach. One medicine to help counter any bad effects of the antibiotic, and the other to help her adapt to all the new food she was getting. (Did I mention she was constipated, too?)
I asked Galiya how much the doctor wanted (for a house call on a Saturday). 1000 tenge (under $7 US)! I gave her 2000.
About an hour after giving her the first dose of everything last night, she was much better. My happy, playful baby was back...for a little while, anyway.
I got her to sleep at around 9:00 PM. She woke up at 2:30 AM and stayed awake (crying most of the time) until 4:15 AM! Not fun.
I had asked Galiya yesterday about buying or renting a crib, and she surprised me with one this morning. She wouldn't let me pay for it and said she would keep it for future families traveling to Kaz to adopt through Focus on Children. Alison went down for a nap in it just as I was leaving. I'm hoping this will help her sleep better (and help me sleep better).
I'm heading out again with my friend Amy from Houston (who gets to leave Wednesday Night. Lucky bitch.). We're going shopping again and then, perhaps, back to the Arasan Baths for another massage. I could certainly use one after the last few days I've had.
(Who wants to come home already...)