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Ruslan came in 1st & recognized us. He smiled but was still shy at 1st. he finally came closer & I picked him up & put him on my lap. He’s also blonde & about 23 lbs. & maybe 32” tall. (We had seen him with 4 other boys in his group on our way out earlier & he’s taller than the rest by about 2”!) He’s got a great smile & the cutest little pout when he’s sad. He has brown eyes too. Except that they are only 4 months apart, I think they look like brother & sister. It was in the 70’s yest. & there really isn’t air conditioning in most places (including the car!) & they had him dressed in denim overalls that are shorts with a shirt & what looked like heavy girls winter tights!
They brought in Nastya & she was wearing a heavy velor shirt, a one piece outfit & then a little jacket! The sun was shining into the room & it was hot! I was wearing a sleaveless top & I was sweating! She had just woken up & was very out of it. She was quiet & had the most confused look on her face!
After playing a little & taking some pictures (we brought toys this time) Ruslan started getting cranky. He kept trying to pull his clothes off but wouldn’t actually do it. I think he was hot & probably a little afraid of these strange people talking funny. So we left & went “home” to think about names. His definitely needed work! Hers was Anastaciia Yuria (they called her Nastya) & his, Ruslan Ruslanovitch. So much for using his middle name!

Host Lena made us dinner (soup with potatoes & noodles, colliflower, salad, bread, apricots? & something she called pancake). I thought I was going to loose weight this trip. I’ll probably gain instead! Most of it is good & everything is fried! For dessert we had ice cream. Lena was close, she called it “scream”! we tried again to make the computer hook up to the internet & just ended up fustrated! (the phones are pulse, not tone.) We finally gave up & put some pictures on a disc. Hopefully we’ll find an internet café somewhere. We were exhausted & finally got a good night sleep!

BTW – when we said we wanted Nastya, everyone was so happy. They said she was a good girl & were happy they were not deceiving us. I think that’s good. When we went back & said we wanted Ruslan, they said not to worry, that the other boy would go to Sweden tomarrow with the next family.

This morning we woke up just before the alarm. I can’t remember the last time we both slept without waking up during the night! Not only were we tired but relieved! We finally knew who our children were!

We got up & took showers. Now here’s an experience to write home about. The room is about 5’ x 6’ & has a bathtub, a sink, a water heater & a washing machine in it. You stand in the tub (no curtain) pick up the shower wand attachment & try really hard not to get water all over the place before you use up all their hot water! Mitch was not happy because he can’t find a washcloth in this country!

We had breackfast (potatoes, something that looked like a short fat hot dog [they know I don’t eat pork so it wasn’t sausage], tomatoes, cucumber, bread & cheese). The cheese was different. I don’t know what kind but since I made a face, Mitch wouldn’t even try it.

We started out by running around getting paperwork done. Mitch & I mostly waited in the car. We had to go to another notary office (because the 1st one had the wrong seal?) & met another couple from CA adopting a boy from the same orphanage. Guy & Tara. Their facilitaor/translator had never been to this region before so Lena & her talked about where things were while we talked about our new kids!

We were told we would have at least 2 days to pick out their names & this morning they said they needed them in an hour! We had decided on 1st names the night before so we spent all the time in the car writing out names to see how they looked! We decided on Anastacia Elana Cooper & Aleksander Ruslan Cooper. We will call them Ana & Alek.

We went to visit them & we were allowed to go get them & take them out to the play yard. We got Ruslan/Alek 1st. They let us come in & take pictures while they were dressing him in the other room. There was a large room that had several little tables with 4 chairs at each. There was an area lined with benches & in another room were about 15 little beds! Smaller than toddler beds. One of the teachers showed us which one was his & I started to cry. Then she showed us the bathroom (a little tub like area, a changing table & 15 little plastic potty chairs or pots on the floor). We saw 15 little pockets with 15 little combs & 15 little hooks with 15 little towels on them. Ruslans is the one with a mushroom on it. Another “teacher” brought him out & he was clinging to her. We asked to take a picture with her but she said no, her hair looked bad today. Just like Americans! I gave him a toy & he gave it back to me. (when he wants something else, he always gives us back something 1st so he never has more than one! Ana, on the other hand, hoards toys! She doesn’t really play with them like Alek, who tries to take them apart, but just has to hold them all at once! Mitch said he didn’t want to overstimulate them & the 1st time he plays with her, I look over & he’s got about 8 toys stuffed in her arms!) Anyway, I showed him the mirror on the toy & he kept it. He was distracted so I took him from the teacher. He was OK until we left the room to get Ana. Then he held on to me tight & made the sad face. I think he was scared.

Ana was ready for us when we got to her room so we didn’t get to look around. She went to take my hand and walk but she’s so little that I couldn’t bend over enough to reach while holding Alek. I had to tell Mitch to take her. He’s cute with them but still needs a little prompting to get started. On our way outside I heard him telling her about all the silly songs he’s going to teach her when no one else is around!

We went outside to play while Lena & Sergi watched our stuff. Alek really likes the swing (no safety strap or anyway to keep them from falling out) & to hold Mitch’s hand & make him walk wherever he wants to go. He kept trying to pull Mitch through the orphanage gate & would make the face when Mitch wouldn’t go. He’s never been out of there before but I guess he’s ready to go! (BTW, he only became available the day we picked him & was only seen by one other family.) Ana likes to walk through really high grass & up & down low steps. Anything she can lift her feet up high!

9:00 pm (2:00 pm home time)

It was time to bring them back to their rooms for Lunch. We brought Alek back 1st as he was getting cranky. I think he was hungry. Then we brought Ana back & got to see the big room. It was similar to Aleks room but with a large playpen looking thing in the corner that could probably hold all the children! Ana waved goodbye to us when they told her to & blew kisses. Then they told her to show us her exercises & she went over to 2 rings hanging on string from the ceiling & pulled herself up on them! One in each hand she started swinging & then put her legs out to the sides! Looks like we need gymnastics lessons! (When we left they were serving bread pieces for lunch & Mitch thought he saw broth on the stove.)

We came home to relax for a few hours & had lunch (salad, some kind of fried meat patty, noodles, soup with kasha I think, bing cherries, cookies & chocolate!). I guess lunch is the big meal here!

Later, we went in search of an internet café. The 1st place could only do email so we went to a college of some kind. They had 9 computers but only the guy that worked there had a floppy drive! I thought that was standard! What should have taken 5 min. took 40! In all that time, all I was able to do was upload 3 pictures to the web & send 1 email to my dad to tell him to tell people it was there. It only cost 4 g (like $ 0.80) but it was so increadably slow! At least now everyone knows how cute they are!

Because that took so long, we only had an hour with the kids. We got Alek 1st again & he was crying when we walked in. As soon as he saw us, his face lit up! He recognized us! They told him to give Mama a hug hello & he came running into my arms! I almost cried! Then we said Papa & he gave Mitch a big hug! He happily let them put a few more layers of clothes on him (it was only 83 today!) & he took my hand & led me out! When I turned at the door to Ana’s room, the smile dissapeared & he started pulling & walking backwards! Lena said he thought we were leaving him in that room. We decided to wait in the hall for her. They said they just needed to get her jacket so Mitchell yelled to put another 12 layers on! Good thing no one understands English!

They keep putting this hat on her that’s bigger than her head! We have to move it to take her picture! Outside we each let one of them walk us around & every few minutes, would switch. Alek would bring us up to the gate again but this time when we said Nyet (no), he would get very upset & sit on the floor & kick his feet. Lena kept saying he’s tired but I thought it was great he felt comfortable enough to get upset in front of me! But I could tell, he’s holding back a lot!

Sat. 5/27/00 7:40 am (12:40 am home time)

I remembered I had a toy that played music so I went to my diaper bag to get it. Alek already has put together that the bag is good. Every time I unzip it now his eyebrows go up. Like he’s thinking what cool new toy will come out this time? (Speaking of diapers, the 1st time they brought me Ana she had on a diaper, otherwise, they never wore one. I’ve never seen underwear so tiny!) Alek loved the toy & knew exactly how to make all of the sounds after only showing him once! Ana just sat watching mesmerized by the music. She’s very quiet later in the day. We found out that her group had 2 afternoon naps until a week ago when they changed to only 1 nap. She’s like a different child in the afternoon. (BTW, in the morning she was wearing a dress when we picked her up & we questioned why she had scratches on the side of her face & marks on her arm. They were 2 sets of teeth marks! We found out she had been in a fight the night before!!! Mitch thinks she started it by saying “ha, ha, I have parents, nah na nah na nah”.)

We brought Ruslan back & talked to his teacher. She said he speaks 3 words, Mama, Papa & die which means give me (but we never heard that one) & he sings some songs. As soon as he saw dinner he forgot about us (it looked like some kind of milk based perridge & hot tea!) so we were lucky to get a wave goodbye after they asked him twice! There was a lot of crying in Ana’s room so we didn’t go in but she blew us kisses (again, after being told). I’m not sure if she knows what’s going on yet but when you say PAPA, she points to Mitch!

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