November 13, 2008
I am truly living an altered reality! When I awoke at 5:40 a.m. this morning (yes, that early), I thought, “Is that really Emilia in the crib beside me? Am I really a Mom?” Although I have been preparing for this role for so long, it’s still wild to think that my dream has come to fruition, and the beautiful little baby I’m holding in my arms is truly my child. It’s more than a little surreal, but I’m loving it.
Emilia is doing very well, as we work to establish our own rhythm. I keep reminding myself that everything is new to her, and she must be a bit shell shocked. At the same time, I know children are resilient, so she will adapt to her new surroundings even if it does take some time. The tough thing is that we will only be in Uralsk for one more week, and then we are going to be in Almaty for five days. After that, God willing that all goes smoothly, we have the very long journey home to New York. I don’t even want to contemplate the flights home.
The only challenge I have had so far is with Emilia going to sleep, which isn’t all that surprising. She used a particular type of pacifier at the baby house to go to sleep, but my pacifier isn’t the same shape and she spits it out as if it’s poison. Also, Emilia is like me in the sense that she always need to be “in the know.” So, she fights sleep until her lids are so heavy they drop. Her teething is just one more challenging component, as I know she’s feeling uncomfortable. We are working on the sleep issue, but I’m not certain we will truly get into a good rhythm/schedule until we return to New York.
Emilia and I spent most of our time in our room today, but by the afternoon I was itching to go outside. It was a beautiful day, and I thought the air would do us some good. Kati helped me into the Baby Bjorn (I still haven’t gotten the hang of this carrier), and we walked to the World War II Memorial and along the Urals River. When we were snapping photos, a young British man approached us and offered to take a group shot. Although I enjoyed our conversation about the sites in Uralsk, Emilia must have considered it quite dull because she promptly fell asleep. I think another walk is in store for us tomorrow.
Tonight a group of friends were gathering together for spaghetti bolognaise at the Pushkin. I was worried that Emilia might become overwhelmed, but she was the perfect social butterfly. She smiled at people who told her how cute her cheeks are (They really are cute!), and she sat in her stroller and chewed on her toys when I was eating. When I saw that she was going to poop out, I whisked her upstairs, gave her a bottle and watched her fall asleep in my arms – a wonderful conclusion to the day.
Before I sign off, I would like to thank all of you who have written notes congratulating me on the adoption and sharing my joy. Messages have been coming in from all over the U.S. and beyond, and every time I read one of your posts, it’s as if I’m being hugged across the miles. Since I’m a bit busier now and my Internet access has become increasingly sporadic, I won’t have the chance to respond to each of you when I’m here. However, know that I thank you so much for playing a role in this amazing experience.
I’ve heard from other families who have adopted that the last few weeks in Kaz are the hardest because you are so close to leaving, and yet still so far from home. Your messages of love and support will continue to give Emilia and me strength, as we prepare for our journey home.