Here they are.....we got to hold and play with Julia and Aaron today!!
Look how strong she is!
In this picture, I let go of her sides and she was holding herself up.
This is my first time holding Aaron. (We will be calling him Sergey while he is still here.) The rest of these pictures are displayed in chronological order. But first let me tell you about TODAY......
Oh my goodness, the emotions were up and down and so much to take in. We were picked up from the train station at 6:30 am and taken straight to Tatiana and Valentin's apartment. Ours was not ready until 11am. We had breakfast here and then Steve and I were taken to the orphanage. Grandma stayed with Evan and Valentin at the apartment.
When we arrived at the orphanage we had to wait around for quite a while.....they were taking care of paperwork and waiting for the doctor to arrive. Then we were walked to a building where Aaron was. We saw a bunch of adorable children all sitting around a table coloring or something. They were all looking at us.....as if they knew what all this fuss was about. We waited just a bit and then a little boy came walking towards us using a walker. It was Aaron!! I had been wondering whether he would be apprehensive at all in meeting us for the first time. NOT AT ALL.....he had the biggest smile on his face as he came to us saying, "mama" and "papa." I couldn't believe it, he was so adorable and so little. He is only a little bit bigger than our 3 year old daughter Regan. I asked if I could pick him up. Tatiana said sure and I scooped him up in my arms and he hugged right back. He was talking a mile a minute in Russian. I asked what he was saying and they translated that he said, "I have been waiting here all my life for you." I had tears streaming down my face at this point. I hugged him, kissed his cheek and he was receptive to it all. We sat down on some small chairs they brought out for us. He started repeating something else again in Russian. They translated again, "Where am I going to go live now?" He is ready to leave with us, like yesterday : ) He is such a riot. He loved trying to take pictures with our camera. He laughed so hard when I tickled his face with my hair. He climbed over to Steve's lap saying "papa!" The only time I saw his face get serious was when he was told we were leaving. He wanted to know when we were coming back. He was relieved to know that it was tomorrow. He asked us to bring him back a toy car and airplane. We have the car, not sure about the airplane......But he went back to his "groupa" without a fuss. They handed him back his walker and off he went!
We learned from the doctor that he was born at 33 weeks gestation with asphyxiation due to the cord being wrapped around his neck. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 3 years old. We were told he learned to sit up at one year, walk at 3 years, and speak at 2 years. He had developmental delays before the age of 2, but since then has had no other developmental delays. He has been at this orphanage since he was 4. Before this he was at another orphanage probably since he was a baby.
After we said goodbye to Aaron, we headed out to another building. We were asked to sit down on a couch and wait. The doctor was giving us the information on Aaron when they brought Julia to us. I was still taking notes so I couldn't fully pay attention to her in the beginning. Steve was holding her in his lap. They told us she had been sleeping and she looked a bit befuddled and concerned.....not really awake....poor thing : ( After the doctor finished with Aaron's medical history, she continued with Julia's history. She has lived at this orphanage since she was 6 months old and was brought there from the hospital where she had been since she was born. At 3 days old, she was put in the intensive care unit. At 5 months old, she suffered some head trauma and an MRI was done on her head that came back normal. She was diagnosed with Cockayne Sydrome at 2 years. They could not specify whether it was type 1 or type 2. Both children are negative for Hepatitis B, C and HIV. When the doctor was finished, everyone left us alone for about 15 minutes. Now we were able to finally spend some time with our sweet Julia. You could tell she was studying us. We discovered VERY quickly that she does not like to be touched. If you gently caress her cheek, hands, arms, legs, anywhere....she become visibly agitated. She turns her face away or pushes your hand away from wherever you are touching her. Her body tenses up. She was very comfortable with us holding our hand up in front of her and letting her touch us. You can see her doing this in some of the pictures. Then I sat her facing me on my lap. She spent quite a bit of time studying me. She was playing with the neckline of my shirt and at one point started lightly smacking my chest. She was concentrating so much as she she did this. I wanted to see what her level of discomfort was in tactile touching. So I rubbed her back for a little bit, where she couldn't reach to push my hand away. She ended up crying and I obviously stopped. She REALLY doesn't like to be touched/soothed. She has such a quiet, weak cry.....so sweet. I had to lay her down on the couch to get her to stop crying. She did settle down and was back to playing with our hands as we held them up above her line of vision. We will let her lead the way as far as how comfortable she is with tactile stimulation. (This may prove difficult on the plane ride home.) Anyways, Steve was behind her head at this point and she would arch her back and head to see him. She most definitely follows the sound of voices when she would hear people talking as they walked through the room. She has very good head control. She is very small....probably 18-24 mo size.
This is all for now.....we are very exhausted. Neither of us slept very well on the train. The train ride was comfortable. I couldn't sleep b/c my mind was racing with excitement over the upcoming day. We are not able to get completely settled in our apartment tonight, because we were told we are only staying here one night and then moving to a different, better place. Not sure what the deal is, but we are going with the flow : ) "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! " Today was a joyous day indeed : ) Tomorrow morning, we are being picked up at 9:45 am to go back to the orphanage for another visit.