Today Sergey really came out of his shell and was a lot more relaxed with us. He made a lot more grunts and sounds today. And we were told that he can't speak but he repeated mama, papa, and ball after Ash said them to him. He actually took a few steps on his own as we were passing him back and forth between us. As far as we know from the Dr. he has not done this before so we got to witness a first with him! He is more comfortable around me than Ash but I know it's because he has only ever been around women. He is allowing Ash to get closer to him and likes it when Ash is silly and goofy. Even though he is more comfortable around me I wonder if it will take him longer to make the connection that I am his mama? Not too worried about it though, it will all come in time. My thoughts are already about getting him home and getting him medical and dental care. I have had a really rough day health wise. I woke up and felt nauseous and weak. I am drinking lots of water but I just think everything is taking it's toll. I had some painful contractions but they were not true contractions, more painful in the front than coming from my back. It was cooler this morning but got very hot this afternoon and is very humid. After our last visit with Sergey Boris took us to the river to do some fishing:) He likes to fish and keeps a pole in his trunk for whenever time allows. I had to go find a place to sit and then thought I was going to pass out or vomit...or both. They saw that I wasn't doing to well and quickly got me back to our room. The air conditioning and water have helped I just can't be in the sun too long. I am resting and doing much better, no more contractions either. We are feeling really positive about everything which is a nice turn of events. Our meeting with the judge is getting closer and closer. Olga the interpreter told me yesterday to not be worried or nervous about the judge, so that was nice to hear as well. Also a random thought just crossed my mind. When you are looking for toys to bring get some that play music, Sergey stops whenever he hears a sound and gets very interested. So I have been singing songs to Sergey, he likes "Little Cabin in the Woods" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and I saw him try to do the bunny motion with me for Little Cabin in the Woods:) It was really sweet. He is so smart, smarter than they give him credit for. We got him this wooden block train set and he was able to slide the blocks down the little post. So he has some really good hand eye coordination and he is able to follow things with his eyes and hold his focus really well. It was a very good visit today:)
I am doing even better today health wise although my heart is breaking knowing tomorrow is our last visit with Sergey:( Today's visits were very nice, really low key and kind of quiet. Our first visit, which is the longest from 9 am to 11:40 am, we basically pushed him in a stroller around the grounds the whole time since the weather was nice. We saw tons of children today. They were all so cute, the boys all had hats on very particular to Russia. Kind of like a homemade baseball cap and the girls all were wearing kerchiefs on their heads, they looked like little baby dolls:) We pushed Sergey on the swings for the last half hour where he started to fall asleep so Ash held him and he fell asleep in his arms. It was really sweet. We then headed back and had Boris drop us off at a restaurant across from our hotel. We went in by ourselves without a translator and tried to tell them our order. We decided to make it easy and showed them a picture above the counter of french fries and what looked like chicken nuggets. The younger girls didn't seem to understand even that so an older lady came over and spoke something in Russian and asked us if we wanted two. We said yes, we thought great they understood what we wanted. I asked Ash how much it all came out to and he said about 7 bucks, I thought hmmm it must be really small portions for that price. They ended up bringing out two small plates with just french fries...Ash replied, order fail:) They must have thought American's love french fries lol! So that's what we ate for lunch, then we got some ice cream which was easy cause you just point to the flavors. It was so good! After that we went to the toy store and bought Prestin some Russian legos and I got a beautiful children's book in the shape of a Matryoshka doll, it's the kind that sings a song for each page. In Russian of course:) Then headed back to the room for a nap until our next visit. Our next visit with Sergey again was quiet, we spent the time in the playroom. Our second visit is from 3:30 until 4:40, too short:( He was super sweet and played with my fingers rubbing his hands over mine and feeling the tips of my fingernails. He was content to just sit in our laps and Ash wrestled a little with him. I sang songs to him, the last song I sang him was Jesus loves you and couldn't finish cause I started crying. I pretty much couldn't stop tearing up the rest of the visit and when they came to take him to his room I completely lost it. It took me a bit to regain my composure and then we left. We came back to our room and relaxed a bit and then headed down to the hotel restaurant and ordered dinner successfully! Tomorrow morning is our last visit with Sergey, from 8:30 until 10:45, then it's off to Tver to do some paperwork and check back into the Volga hotel. We have about two hours down time until court which is around 3:00 pm. It would be 2:00 am our time back home. I am not feeling nervous just anxious to get it over with. We feel prepared so that has helped a lot. Then that's it, our flight leaves the next day at 11:44 am and we will be heading back home. I miss my kids a lot! It is going to be hard to say goodbye tomorrow not knowing what the future holds and hoping he won't forget about us. We were just starting to have some good connections with him, hoping that won't all be lost.
We woke up around 5 am this morning wide awake so we started getting ready and packed up our luggage. We had an early visit with Sergey this morning at 8:30 so we could have some more time with him before we said goodbye. The weather was nice and cool this morning so we walked the grounds and pushed him on the little push bike. He was in a really good mood this morning. We then headed inside to the playroom as we were being bombarded by mosquitoes. That was the best part of the visit, Sergey really came out of his shell and initiated wrestling with Ash. And he likes to cuddle with me. He also let us rub his head which in the beginning he didn't like his head to be touched at all. It feels like we came so far with connecting and now have to leave. We had to leave at 10:45 so we said our goodbyes, Sergey didn't want to let go of Ash:(,and gave them a picture of me and Ash for them to show him. We didn't leave the whole picture book because Boris and Irina thought it would be good to show the judge the pictures of our kids. We went back to the hotel to return the key and bought a little ceramic elephant that reminded us of Sergey. They had a curio cabinet full of these ceramic hand painted figurines that are made from a local factory in Konokovo. We thought it would be special to have:) We then headed on our way to Tver, about an hour and half drive. We first stopped at the translations office and met Michhael (sp) the man who translated all of our documents, he spoke very good English. We then followed him down this dirt path to the notary's office. The building looked beaten up outside, but on the inside it was very nice and they had air conditioning! The notary part took longer than expected but we were still okay on time this just meant we weren't going to have any down time before court. The notary was nice and talked a lot with us, we showed her pictures of our family and of Sergey. She liked seeing the kids. It's interesting how little people here know of Down Syndrome. When she saw the picture of Sergey she smiled and then asked if his disease was curable. We just told her no but that he would have many opportunities in America and she seemed to like that. We then rushed to the hotel and checked in and had an hour to get ready for court. The Volga hotel does not have air conditioning in the rooms and it was a very muggy day today so by the time we showered and got dressed, Ash in a full suit and I in a dress and blazer, we were drenched. I did not find any maternity nylons so had to get thigh highs, they were so annoying! The tops kept rolling down and were driving me insane! We stepped out of our room and said a prayer and then went to the lobby where Irina and Boris were waiting and there was air conditioning! We headed to court barely making it with our lives! Driving here is CRAZY!!! We were stopped at a light and Boris got in the middle left hand turning lane and went in front of four lanes of traffic to turn right lol! I don't even know what cops would pull you over for here? I think they just wait around for fender benders. We got to the courthouse and climbed the suicide steps, seriously falling apart, out front and into the main entrance all the while I'm messing with my stupid nylons:( We got up to the room and went in, Olga was our translator again. The judge was quiet but would smile from time to time. She asked us, what year we were married, our children's names, birth dates and what grade of school they are in. She asked if they wanted Sergey to be apart of our family. She asked what we knew of Sergey's medical history, which Irina and Boris had given us all his medical and told us to study it so we were prepared. She asked us why we wanted to adopt and if we wanted Down Syndrome specifically. She asked where Ashley worked and how much he made, what our house was like and if we are the owners. If anyone other than our family lived with us. When was my last job and will I have help when the baby is born. When I can travel and if I will be bringing the baby. Who we had taking care of our children now. She asked if we believed in God and what our beliefs were. And that was pretty much it. We took our answers slow, not too quick to answer until we heard everything Olga had to say. She told us that she wanted us to provide documentation from a specialist for Sergey, something from our children's school regarding their behavior, a letter from our children who are able to write, update medical on our children as the three months will be expired by then and for the new baby. And letters from our mothers saying they are available and willing to help when I may need help as well as letters from close friends willing to help. A letter from Ashley's boss on his available vacation time and that they are understanding and open to us adopting Sergey. All of this is doable and won't be hard to obtain! Praise God!!! Court lasted maybe an hour, Ash had everyone, including the judge laughing a couple times. She really liked seeing the pictures of our kids and liked that we had brought drawings from our kids to Sergey that said how much they loved him. One of the big things that posed a problem for us from the judge was about our homestudy, in the beginning when you are filling out paperwork they advise you to put that you are open to adopting more than one child just in case you choose to adopt more than one later the paperwork is already done. It just a safety precaution so that you don't have to go through all the paperwork again later. Well the judge had been under the impression, because it didn't translate correctly, all along that we wanted to adopt two children. When she heard that it was only one she was very happy. So that was cleared up and things looked great from there on out. We left court feeling really well. Boris said we did great in his opinion and said that I was Mother hero:) He said that I handled myself very well and knew that the judge would be impressed by me. That was nice to hear because he knew how nervous I was in the beginning of the week. Irina came down and met us and Olga translated for her. She said the judge was very positive towards us and impressed with me for coming across the ocean while pregnant. She said I must be very strong, again very nice to hear:) Everyone felt really great afterwards and we made sure to get pictures taken with them. We then went back to our hotel and took the biggest sigh of relief:) We needed to exchange some money for souvenirs for the girls, we got them little matryoshka dolls from the gift shop:) So Ash, Irina and Boris went to the exchange office and I headed up to the room. On my way to the room my hose finally gave out and literally rolled down my knee, ha! The maids in the hallway saw me but I didn't care at that point I couldn't wait to get those things off! We then headed out to the market to get some snacks and something for dinner and are now relaxing in our room. It's starting to get a little cooler so that's nice. Thank you for your prayers! Feeling really hopeful and so blessed!
Outside the court building after court with Irina and Boris:)
With our translator Olga:)
We now are waiting on official court dates for the end of September or beginning of October. Prayers are still very much needed as this next trip will determine our adoption fate. Thank you for coming along on this journey with us, we are so close:)