November 17, 2008
Today’s highlight came in the evening. Although Emilia and I have had dinner at the Pushkin, we haven’t ventured outside for a meal together. Our friend Loretta, who is adopting a six-month-old boy, has an apartment in the center of town and generously invited several families for dinner.
I have heard a great deal about the apartments here, but I had never been inside one. Loretta warned everyone that there were no lights in her stairwell or on the landings, so I brought my flashlight. I couldn’t imagine that I’d really need to use it – surely there would be some light, right? – but I couldn’t have even seen Emilia in my arms without it. Even with the flashlight, it was treacherous navigating the stairs, which were cement and uneven.
One would expect after viewing the decrepit entrance to the building and climbing the stairs in the dark that the apartment would have been unattractive. However, it was nice and had a living room/bedroom combo, a separate kitchen and a bathroom. Loretta (who incidentally is now staying at the Pushkin and giving up this apartment because it’s too isolating) made a lovely stew, and all the guests brought other foods and drinks. It was a lovely potluck dinner, and everyone enjoyed relaxing and sharing our stories. A couple from Canada (Larry and Brenda), Kelly from L.A. (whose here with her sister-in-law, Michele), and Loretta all finished their bonding periods today, and another Canadian couple will be finishing bonding later this week. The W’s (as I call the four of them) and I already have our beautiful children, so spirits were high. My only sadness is that my friend, Kati, is still waiting to be matched with a child after several weeks. Please say a prayer that this happens for her soon, as she has had a difficult time, and I know she will make an amazing Mom to a child who truly needs her.
I was very proud of Emilia tonight. She ate her meal without fuss and seemed to enjoy being with all our friends. She really is quite good when there are many people around, and she is happy to make faces and coo at people who engage her. She will go to other people sometimes, but usually this is short-lived and she gets fussy. She knows who Mommy is and is always ready to come into my arms. Then she looks into my eyes with great intensity and cuddles her head into my neck. This is such an awesome feeling, which inevitably ends in a shower of kisses. I just can’t help myself. Could you?