Sunday, August 27, 2006

Visit to Nezabudka


We got a start for Karaganda at about 8:30 and it was a nice ride. Our car had no shocks, a broken windshield and we weaved in and out of traffic at about 130 km/hour (Not sure what the conversion is), with no seat belts and the boys on our laps. We passed across the steppes and it was incredible to see miles of flat land. Cattle were free to stand in the road and we had to slow done for them (or veer around them). At one point I saw 2 people in the middle of the road with automatic weapons and cars were pulling over. We slowed down to about 10 miles per hour and it turned out to be a security check point where they video taped as you passed by. I guess the reason is that they can review the tapes of everyone that used the roads in case something ever happened. We passed by the presidents, outside the city, residence, which was vast and the fences went on for miles. As we entered Karaganda we noticed that it had a face lift. The roads had been redone and there were a lot more store fronts and signs up. It was nice that we could just drive straight to Nezabudka without stopping or driving up on the curb or sidewalk to avoid huge holes in the road, traffic flowed very nicely, which was an issue getting around in 2003. Anyway, we spoke to Daniel and James (on the ride) about where we were going and said that they may be called by other names (Their birth names). They both seemed very interested but wanted to be reassured that their real names were Daniel and James and though they were born in Karaganda they really lived in Bellingham and we said yes. So James seemed fine with the upcoming visit but Daniel still wanted to talk about it and was feeling a little anxious, I think, and very inquisitive so we answered many questions until he was settled. As we entered the Nezabudka grounds I had this amazing flashback to a time 3 years ago when we were bonding with Daniel and James, only this time I looked down and they were in the car with us and I could see how far they/we had come and how our family has gelled and has continued to solidify over the years. It was a very nice feeling. The boys hopped out of the car and started to run around and burn off energy. Elana pulled up seconds later and we greeted her and then Olga showed up which was a nice surprise. ( Olga was our coordinator when we adopted Daniel and James and hasn’t changed a bit). We entered the baby home and I immediately remembered the smell. It was a unique smell (a nice smell) which came from the kitchen (we showed up at 11:00 am which was our original visiting period when the staff was preparing lunch). We were greeted by Doctors Zoyka and Ludmilla which were Daniel and James’ doctors during their stay their. Daniel just stood behind me and wouldn’t say hi, James said “Hello”. We went to their offices and visited, Daniel was like a leg brace as he clutched to my leg as we made our way to their offices. I finally picked Daniel up and carried him. I stopped in the hallway, put him down and asked him if he wanted to go back to the car or outside to play and he said he wanted to follow James. So we continued. The Doctors were so amazed at how far they had come along and we talked about their progress and especially how James has overcome so many challenges and obstacles.

Daniel was feeling relaxed and after awhile we headed up to their baby room and as we entered we immediately recognized their caregiver (who we never expected to be there after 3 years, she was a very compassionate woman). She was feeding one of the children and just looked over like we were just glancing in the room for a minute and then Daniel and James walked in and she looked at them and Elana asked her “Do you remember them?”, “Remember who?” “The 2 children”….a pause……. She stood up, with a big smile, and Called two names in Russian !!! “Which were their nicknames at Nezabudka and ran over for a kiss. Daniel and James said hello. After a short visit we asked Daniel and James if they wanted to see their beds and seemed very curious. Daniel stepped forward and said yes and felt comfortable seeing his old bed, James really didn’t care and stayed behind. They played with the other kids for awhile (I took pictures). We said our last goodbyes and then headed to lunch. We went to a really nice Armenian restaurant, where we had Lamb and Chicken (exchanged some gifts). There were many government vehicles there (which you can tell by the licenses plate with the flag on it, we found out the president had already left the city) and a large table which was guarded buy 4 men with automatic weapons.

It was a little unsettling seeing these guys walking around with machine guns, bullet proof vests and belts loaded with ammunition. There were lots of speeches and toasts and then a guy was escorted out of the building (very quickly thru the back door) and then the secret service (or who ever they were) really started to have a good time (I didn’t think it would be a good time to take photos). Our meal was very good, Armenian bread is the best. We headed back to Elanas where she has opened up her home to us and she stocked it with our favorite foods (which she didnt have to do, but was really appreciated, we made the boys a nice breakfast in the morning). She is staying at her mothers up the road and allowing us to stay at her place for the night.
I have to say there is something about Elana and her home. When she had us over for dinner 3 years ago I felt so comfortable (in a very uncomfortable situation) and we toasted and talked for hours and I never wanted to leave and here we are again. We enter her apartment, once again and feel so comfortable and welcome. Thank you Elana…..

1 comment:

jura on my mind said...

I adopted my son Jura out of Nezabudka in may 2002. Olga was assistent of Marina Turapina back than. And yes she doesn't changed a bit.