We met Elvira yesterday! She is absolutely precious, so sweet.
But before we got to meet her, we had to go to the Department of Education to get our permit to go to the orphanage. The social worker asked us a few questions about why we wanted to adopt, what our children and families thought, and about our finances. She acted all stern, but I could tell she liked us. Her main concern is that we're so young (why thank you!) to take on such a responsibility. But she seemed satisfied with our answers and gave us our permit! We gave her a Dallas cowboys mug in the shape of a helmet that was filled with butterfingers as a gift. She looked thrilled! They love American candy here.
Then it was on to the baby hospital to meet Elvira. It was such a contrast with American hospitals. The stairwells all had cracked concrete and several layers of paint showing through. It was well worn. We waited in the emergency room waiting room with sick children and their parents before they took us to the main office to give them our permit and take a potty break. I'm glad I brought my own toilet paper!
Then they led us to Elvira's hallway.
I saw one of her caregivers carrying her through the hallway, and I recognized her instantly! When we walked into the room with the cribs, the toddlers in her group were just leaving to go play in a different room, and I think she wanted to go with them because she kept craning her neck to see where they had gone.
After her friends were gone, she walked right over and offered me the ball she was holding. She walked! Her favorite caregiver, Eula, told me she started walking about a week ago. We were so thankful to see that! We started clapping and getting excited, and then we brought out the gift we brought for her. And she clammed right up. I think we scared her or overwhelmed her because at that point, she kept standing there and staring at us, but she did not want to play with her new phone or anything else.
After a while, I got her to sit in my lap and rubbed her back a little bit, and then Ryan snuggled with her for a while. She started to warm up a little and rolled a toy car back and forth with us a little bit and tried out the buttons on her phone.
Then it was lunchtime. Eula asked if I would like to feed her, and I said yes. So they brought in her highchair and her meal, which looked like mashed potatoes in broth with a little bit of ground beef (I think). It smelled great, and she ate every bit of it. I spoon fed her. I don't think they've ever let her try feeding herself. I get the feeling they don't want to have to deal with the mess because at one point, they brought in another child (I think she was a girl because she was in pink, but who knows), and that child was also spoon fed - in record time, I might add.
I'm pretty sure the drink they brought for Elvira was tea. We brought some Pediasure with us and got her to drink a few sips before she realized it was not tea. Then she refused to drink anymore, so we gave her the tea, which she gulped down. We were just happy she even got that tiny bit of Pediasure.
After lunch, we moved into a playroom and tried to get her to stack blocks. Instead, she thought it was hilarious to pass the blocks to Ryan or me and have us stack them. She did this over and over and started to giggle and smile. It was so precious! She also laughed when I made a pink stuffed mouse pretend to talk and give her kisses. Ryan did motor boat lips, and she kept trying to imitate him.
She is so timid. You can tell she wants to respond and interact with us, but she's not sure how. When we first started with the blocks, we kept offering them to her, and she would look at them and twitch her little hands like she wanted to reach out. Finally, we put it directly in her hand, and then she started picking them up two at a time and handing them to us.
This was over the span of about an hour or so. We're hoping today's visit will be even better and that she'll open up more with us.
We will also get to ask the head doctor more about her medical and family history.
Today we also presented the suitcase of donations from Orphans At Play to Elvira's doctor, and she seemed very pleased with the clothing and Desitin. She said 'spaseeba' (thank you) many times! The other suitcase we brought over, which was filled with coats and hats for older children, will be taken to that orphanage by a local catholic priest.
Please pray that things continue to go well. We are being well taken care of by our facilitators here - Sveta and our translator, Dasha.
I wish I could post pics, but our laptop does not automatically log me into my blog, and I can't figure out how to do it since it's in Russian. So I'm posting everything from my iPhone because it automatically logs me in, but it won't let me post pics. So I will have to post pics when we get back to the US.