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Alison's Journey Home: An Adoption Story - Part 5

By Nicole Sandler


I just got Alison to sleep. This is the toughest time of the day well, last night and tonight anyway. She fights going to sleep climbs all over the bed (no crib here), and sobs mournfully. I did a bit of reading on toddler adoption, and they do go through a mourning phase. It makes sense.

They're all of a sudden taken from everything and everyone they"ve ever known, and can't possibly understand what's going on. They also can't express what they're feeling.

For the most part, Alison is doing great. It's only at bedtime that she really has trouble. She's a very happy baby, and is absorbing everything like a sponge!

At the orphanage, it didn't even seem that she could crawl. In the three days I've had her, not only has she started crawling all over the place, but last night she pulled herself up and, holding on to the chairs, walked around and around the big dining room table! She was so proud of herself. I got out the camera and shot a bunch of pictures. But the minute I pulled out the video camera, she decided she didn't want to walk any more.

I'm sure that she'll be walking on her own by the time we leave Almaty on December 13.

I went to the "green market Saturday. It's like a giant flea market, where they sell everything from toiletries and clothing to shoes, toys, meat and vegetables. Booth after booth of stuff, with A LOT of people pushing their way through. I thought people hurrying down the streets of New York were rude. No comparison! It was fascinating.

I bought a stroller for $15 and took Alison out for a walk in it yesterday for the first time. She loves the outside. Her eyes get huge as she takes in everything. They don't take the kids outside of the orphanage, and the air in there is very stale. I know she loved the fresh air, in addition to all the things to look at. Luckily the weather has been great. Mostly in the 30s, today it was probably around 40! We're in the southernmost part of Kazakhstan, so it's a lot warmer than it is in the capital of Kaz, Astana, (where one of our coordinators had to go yesterday to get some papers signed for us, or we don't get to leave. It's about 15 below zero (Celsius). I don't know what that translates to, except that it's very cold. And I know that it's been well below zero in Moscow as well. I hope the weather here holds up, because there's so much to see here and I enjoy walking around the city. I have to be careful not to get lost since I can't read any of the signs, they're all !

in Cyrillic!

I also have to watch everything I do in front of her, because she mimics me. Though she probably only weighs 16 or 17 pounds, she gets heavy, and I've let out an "ugh or two. Well, I do it, and Alison does it! I blew a raspberry at her once, and she's been trying ever since usually just sticking out her tongue and blowing, but she got it right tonight.

And I make her bottles using powdered formula, which doesn't dissolve too well, so I shake the bottles pretty vigorously. Until today, I held the bottle for her. Today she decided she could do it herself, but she keeps taking it out of her mouth and shaking it.

Bath time has been rough too. The kids at the orphanage were only bathed once a week and I don't think they used bathtubs, I think it was just a sponge bath. She was terrified. She's gotten a little more tolerant each night. Tonight she actually sat in the water rather than digging her fingernails into my shoulder and trying to climb over my back. She still cried loudly, but I think we're making progress.

I am exhausted. She keeps me very busy from the time we wake up until I get her to sleep (which last night wasn't until about 10:30, and I fell asleep with her).

My travel plans were finalized today. I will leave Almaty for Moscow on Tuesday night, actually Wednesday morning, December 13 at 2:00 AM. It's a three-and-a-half hour flight, so we'll arrive at 5:30 AM. Once in Moscow, we will check into a hotel, where the doctor from the American Medical Center will come that morning to examine Alison (required by the US Embassy to get her immigration papers). Then, as early as possible, it's off to the US Embassy for our interview. The papers are usually ready by 5:00 PM if you're there early enough. We have to get that done because my flight leaves from Moscow on Thursday, December 14 at 7:00 AM.

We'll fly to Frankfurt, have a one-and-a-half hour layover, and then on to Miami (where we arrive at 2:15 PM). Funny, it took two days to get here, and seven hours to get home. Good thing I'll be staying with my sister in Miami for a couple of days. It"ll take that long to get over the jet lag.

I'm beat and would love to just sit in front of the TV right now, and do nothing. Unfortunately, the only English channel I get is the Fox News Channel and I'm sick of the election deadlock. I can watch a lot of American shows dubbed into Russian, or the Russian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire (seriously, down to the same set, same graphics, but no Regis. Lucky Russians.), but it just doesn't work for me. We also have the Discovery Channel, but only some of the shows are in English. Oh well, once I sit down and actually stop I'll fall asleep anyway.

About The Author

Nicole Sandler is the owner/producer of Legacy Video Productions, specializing in producing adoption stories.


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