Oh what a day. First the children (yes, plural) are healthy and appeared to like us and we had a lovely time. I oughtn't say much more than that, as they are not yet ours, and we haven't officially met her and are in fact awaiting permission to met her. We played with all seven children and we all had lots of fun.
So we got picked up and drove about a half an hour to the outskirts of town to an orphanage that houses many kids. Our groupa (the seven kids) have to themselves a groupa room (toys, craft and game table, mini tea table and tea sets etc., a sleeping room with about a dozen little beds (all neatly made) and one big person bed, and a lavatory (two toilets, a stand & and spray tub, a sink, and seven little toothbrushes lined up in cups on the shelf above seven little towel sets: hand towels and leg & foot towels.) But I am getting ahead of ourselves.
We arrived and approached the entryway just as the director was also entering (see pic). We followed her to her office where we were introduced and joined by a care-giver. We asked lots of questions and got a general idea of the children's daily routines and meals. It is obvious that the care-giver at this meeting, as well as the other ones we interacted with, are fond of the children and look after them well.
Then we were escorted down a short hallway and into the groupa room. We saw Andy immediately, playing on the floor in the center of the room. There were six other kids in the room, also all playing alone as they had done group things all day and this was "free play" time. Andy jumped up and gathered up chairs for us. When he noticed the discrepancy between the chair size (wee) and Jamie's size (giant), he went down the hall to fetch a big person chair for him. The care-givers say that this is typical of him, to see and meet needs.
We brought a puzzle which we all assembled together, the seven kids and Irena our translator, and Jamie and I. Here we got to interact with the little girl that we hope to gain a referral for. She is delightful and that is all I can say. Sorry.
We also brought a weird set a toys that we found here that was like an erector set made of that soft noodle material that summer floaties are made of. They loved it. We loved it. The other grown-ups loved it. We all had fun.
Towards the end of the visit, I took a look at the books to gauge what proportion of text to pictures would be appropriate as we select books to bring on Friday's visit. Andy was very keen on picking out books with me (gotta love that) and we tried to read one. It was during this that I think he figured out that we have different words for things. Previously, he had been looking at us with an expression of puzzled concern. He pointed to things and waited. I said it in English, he repeated. He said it in Russian. I repeated. Then he went ahead a few pages to look for more instances; I think he was checking to see if the word I gave was consistent or random. One of these "test" words was mouse. About 15 minutes later we finished the book and found a mouse on the last page. He remembered it in English! He seems to be quick and curious and is a delight to spend time with.
Tomorrow we will be picked up at 9:30 and visit until noon. Then we will go shopping for all the things the director mentioned, at our urging, would be useful. They appreciated the socks and undies that we took today.
The orphanage is sparkling clean and has lots of healthy plants growing inside which the kids are taught to care for. The play yard is dreary, but that is the season here. I'm sure in summer it is better. Everything needs paint.
edited to add pics