Today we met our precious little boy. We were picked up by our guide Irina and interpreter/translator Lana and went to the Department of Education in Vladivostok for an interview with the Regional Director who is the person who matched us with the baby we would soon meet. She asked us about our jobs, why we want to adopt from Russia, and what experience we have with children. A few minutes later, she gave us a stamped document with the name and birthdate of the child she had chosen for us. We then signed a log book indicating that we had been matched with a child with his birth name beside our names and today's date. She wished us Good Luck and said she hopes we can find a family for this child. This went much more smoothly and was less stressful than we imagined it would be. We then went to the Department of Health, and Irina gathered health records/social worker's notes for our little guy. We made two more stops and a stop at the grocery store for lunch and then were on our way to the Baby Home in Artyem. We had to wait until after 12:00 as he naps 10-12. :)
We drove through the countryside covered in snow and snapped pictures of some of the housing areas along the way. We soon arrived at the Baby Home. We were led upstairs and asked to wait in a room with a sofa, rug, 2 chairs, and a shelf with toys (ring stackers, trucks, a cone and a cube-shaped block, and a big car with a baby doll sitting in it. We talked a moment with Lana and waited for our little one to be brought to us. We were surprised he was brought so soon that Lana did not have the video camera on yet! She quickly got it working and filmed our first few minutes together. He came to me very easily from his caregiver, and Irina removed his cap, revealing a head full of blonde hair! He has beautiful green eyes, too. He is so ticklish, it's great! He made a great /kkkkkk/ sound and giggled each time he did it. We brought a rattle toy, a soft duck teether/rattle, and a jingle ball to play with while we were with him. We were left alone with him for an hour and told that he would be leaving us to eat lunch when our time was up. We had the best time playing with him, videoing, taking pictures, and just sitting in awe watching him.
When he was examined in December at 12 months old, he was unable to sit up on his own, had no teeth, and was not crawling. Today he showed us all of the skills he has learned in the past 2 months. He is sitting alone, pulling up to a sitting position from lying down, crawling with all four limbs (sometimes army-crawling, and at other times almost on all fours--depending on if he is trying to carry a ring in his hand from the ring stacker--he loves the big blue one!), and supporting himself fairly well in a standing position. He now has 2 teeth (bottom center) and is teething, putting his fingers and toys in his mouth. He reaches for objects using both hands (using a separate one for each side of his body), follows objects and sounds well with his eyes and ears/head turning, and shakes and bangs toys together during play. He didn't respond much to our facial expressions, and we're guessing this is because he's never had one-on-one attention and has newfound mobility! He had the best time playing on the rug with the toys we brought! He loved when I clicked my tongue too. He responded with laughter and even reached for my lips once. We got 20 minutes of video clips and tons of digital pictures of him laughing and playing and of us holding him.
After an hour passed, Irina and Lana returned with the Baby Home Director/Doctor, and baby boy's caregiver came to get him for lunch. She gestured as if she were feeding herself with a spoon to let us know it was time for him to eat. We gave him hugs and kisses and off he went. Lana joked that he may tantrum the rest of the day after having our undivided attention for so long! The Director/Doctor went over the medical records and answered any questions we had, and Irina read the social worker's reports in the file. We would like to keep this information for little man until he is older to share his birth family's history with him. The Director reported that our little guy is "a naughty boy," always getting into everything, needs a lot of attention, and doesn't like to play alone. He did great with us--didn't cry (she actually asked us if he cried with us), smiled, laughed, played appropriately with objects, looked for objects that were out of sight, used all limbs equally well, and snuggled like he knew who we were.
After the Director was finished talking with us, we were invited back to visit tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to talk with the caregivers and spend more time with the little one. We hope to stay 2 hours tomorrow and then visit Wednesday and Thursday too before we leave Friday. We haven't officially signed the documents to petition to adopt this little one. We feel very strongly about him, but we want to see him a little more before we make our final decision. Today was better than we ever could have dreamed. He adapted to us immediately, cuddling and snuggling his head into my shoulder, smiling at everyone watching us. We are anxious to see him with his caregivers and peers tomorrow. He is so precious! We love him, we're just being cautious before making our decision final!!
We can't wait to give another update tomorrow! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers!