This is the majority of the email we sent home to family after meeting our son for the first time.
We got up around 6:30 after sleeping for 12 hours. It was so nice to get some sleep. I don't think either of us moved all night. We had a good breakfast which included cold cuts and cheese slices. It sounds strange but it was very tasty. At 8:45 Mrs.P (our coordinator) picked us up and we were on our way to Baby Home #1. For day one we were told to bring just a few toys and snacks, so off we went.
I videoed our arrival at the baby home, which is actually 3 plain brick buildings that are all three stories tall. Outside there is a small but nice playground. Upon arrival we were told to put on booties to keep us from tracking in dirt and we were taken up some stairs and down the hall to a big play room to wait for him. One of the caretakers went to wake him up, change his clothes and bring him from one of the other buildings so we waited for what seemed like forever, but it was only about 5 minutes.
We were both full of nerves and butterflies when they opened the door and a caretaker came in with him. He was dressed in blue cotton pajamas with brown shoes and a red coat. He also looked nervous and was hesitant at first until he saw the cat. This baby home has a cat named Lucia (which should maybe be named Lucifer - this cat doesn't like anyone apparently, especially kids). So, why would this cat be here? We don't know.
After a few minutes we were left alone with him and convinced him to come play with us. He then started to warm up to us. He liked pushing the toy police truck and ball back and forth and would switch between sitting in our laps. Mr.Slick showed him how to throw the ball overhand and he got a hang of that quickly and was then throwing it too. There may be some baseball games in his future. We also brought out some Lego's. He was confused at first but after showing him how they worked, he quickly stacked towers, knocked them down and built them again. He liked the police car best and knew which way to roll it but he was disappointed that the buttons didn't make sound (we were unsure if we could bring noisy toys - we know now!).
About 20 minutes into playing we were told we had to move into another room because inspectors were there to look over the baby home and this room. Mr.Slick carried him into the other room and he started to get scared. He grabbed onto Mr.Slick's shirt and neck and hid his face into his shoulder. But after a few minutes of playing he was fine again. The room they took us to was just a glorified closet with toys and chairs. It wasn't any more than 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. But we made it work and spread out a blanket on the floor and played for another 2 or so hours. We played some more with the ball, the police truck and the Lego's and there were also some other toys in there. We found stacking cups that he was a pro at stacking and unstacking. We got our first laugh out of him when Mr.Slick put a cup on his head like a hat and I put one on A's head to match. We also found a peg board with shapes to stack on them. He was able to do this with little assistance, but those pesky triangles were tough to fit on! There was a toy cell phone that we found and he knew exactly what to do - he immediately put it to his ear and started talking. He thought it was funny when I pulled her cell phone too and they talked on their phones together.
In the closet he also found a stuffed animal dog that he seemed excited about so I pulled up a picture of Gunner on her cell phone and that's when we got the first full on giggle. He loved the pictures of Gunner and started yelling the word for dog in Russian. He then within a few seconds figured out how to scroll through the pictures on the iPhone. It was funny watching him swipe through the pictures.
We did some more playing including taking a rubber ducky on a ride on top of the police car. He thought we were silly and laughed at us when we did this. But then he did too. He would very carefully load the ducky onto the top of the truck and push it gently so it wouldn't fall. We also brought some snacks; animal crackers, goldfish, and yogurt bites (they were all a hit). A figured out quickly how to get them out of the no spill cup and started putting bites into his mouth one by one. Then he figured out he could fit his whole hand in the cup so he started putting whole fist fulls of food in his mouth. He even was storing some food in his cheeks and looked like a little chipmunk. Apparently this is common in orphanages and something they will stop doing after a while in a home. He was a serious drool monster and the yogurt bites dissolving on him made for some messy drool. We think he may be cutting some teeth as he kept rolling his tongue over the sides of his gums.
After a while Mrs.P came back with some paperwork where she gave us more information on A's past and his birth family. So we know a little but still not everything. This is information that we will someday give to him and only him. It will be his choice to share it someday if he chooses. It's his story, not ours to share. But we do know that he has three older siblings, one of which was adopted by an American family. Mrs.P is going to find out their information for us so we can make contact if we want to. They don't know about A, so it may be a shock to them to learn their child has a biological sibling also being adopted.
While we were playing a social worker came to observe us. She will be the social worker present during court so it was important for her to see us interacting with him as she must give approval for us to adopt him. She sat outside the closet in a chair watching us and after a few minutes we forgot she was even there.
When it was time to go, A saw Mr.Slick putting our toys back into our bag and he helped us clean up. Mr.Slick picked him up and handed him to I and we got to take him back to his building. The whole walk he put his cheek right up against mine and held on tight. When we walked into his building we could smell lunch and A could too. He perked up and couldn't wait to get through the doors to his room for lunch! He waved bye bye to us and they closed the door.
Overall, he was a very quiet and shy boy today but also very smart. We can't wait to play with him tomorrow.