Week 6

Musings on nearing the end…

I’m finding it increasingly hard to write anything at the moment that isn’t rather maudlin! I have become very aware that my time here in Ust-Kamenogorsk is almost over and, having been increasingly desperate to leave, I now find that I don’t want to bring this weird, emotional journey to an end.

I’m torn in different directions. I want Daniel out and at home with me and have started to become quite choked when I leave him at the end of each visit, when he cries and holds out his arms to me, it’s really tough to keep walking down the long corridor towards the stairs even though I know I’m only leaving for a few hours. And yet there is a part of me that knows it is such a huge shame that he cannot grow up here with his birth family – their loss is my gain and that’s a difficult thing to get to grips with. I know there is no future for him here, the children who are not adopted have very few prospects and even though the care here is excellent and the carers are warm human beings with the patience of saints, all children deserve someone to read them bedtime stories and tuck them in at night and light candles every year on their birthday, they deserve to have favorite toys and choose their own clothes and not just to share in a general pool of both.

I didn’t choose to adopt for any reasons other than selfish – it was entirely about what I wanted, I wasn’t trying to save a child, I wasn’t doing anyone any favours except myself. But now that I am faced with the tiny human being that has become my son I am conscious of the huge responsibility I have to do everything in my power to make his life better than it would otherwise have been. Is this beginning of being a parent finally?

There is an occasionally quoted story in adoption circles that I have always found to be slightly sentimental for my taste…

“A man was out walking along a beach very early one morning, with no-one else around, when he became aware of a figure in the distance on the sea-shore. The person looked a little like they were dancing so, intrigued, the man approached. He discovered a boy picking up star-fish which had been washed ashore and flinging them high in the air towards the retreating sea.beach-1449008_1280

What are you doing? – asked the man

These star-fish will die if they are left on the beach in the sun – said the boy

The man looked around at the star-fish which had been washed up on the beach,

But there are thousands – he said – you can’t possibly throw enough back to make a difference.

The boy looked down at the star-fish in his hand and said,

Well it makes a difference to this one.”

It always used to irritate me as it implies that these children who are adopted should feel in some way grateful for being “saved” but I have become fonder of this story recently as it dawned on me – Daniel isn’t the star-fish, I am.

Blubbing has started again

OK confession time – I blubbed today (Monday) and quite a lot and in public too. I have been forced to admit this, having been so scathing about my Mother’s blubbing, by Aine who has threatened to post a comment if I don’t come clean.

This morning we went to sign the registers so the birth certificate and adoption certificate can be issued. After waiting in a corridor for about 20 minutes, I was called in and asked to sign the usual variety of paperwork, I have stopped asking what it is I just do as I’m told now. And the registrar lady said something to me in Russian and I looked around for which bit of paper she wanted signed this time and she was holding out something to me and said the same thing again – our translator Alfiya smiled at me and said “she says Congratulations, you are now a mother, have a very happy life” and handed me the birth certificate and adoption certificate. I didn’t even look at them in detail, didn’t check the names were right, nothing, my mind was a blank and I just knew I couldn’t say anything I was so choked – the first person to congratulate me in the flesh (as it were) was a complete stranger in this tiny little room in a grey and dusty tiny government office. And yet the way she smiled when she said it, was so genuine it really touched me. I stared at the certificates blankly (I think she was seriously considering rescinding the order on the grounds of mental infirmity at this point) and continued to stare for about another 10 seconds until Baurzhan our co-ordinator whipped them away from me. They are needed to apply for Daniel’s passport and though I know that really the most important thing, I would have been nice to have them for a bit longer.

So in a slightly wobbly frame of mind, we headed off for our morning visit to the baby house. I

daniel and sveta

Sveta and Daniel in the sick bay

had a good visit with Daniel then headed off to the sick-bay. I have decided to give some token gifts to the carers in the sick-bay who were all so kind to me. Daniel and I spent most of our real bonding time there and they rarely get anything from people coming to adopt as it’s rare that any of the children being adopted spend any significant amount of time in the sick-bay. I had some of the photos of Daniel with each of the carers developed and included them with a postcard of London so they can see where he’s going to live (apparently he’s moving into Buckingham Palace) and a few small treats like make-up and hand cream and small photo frames. As we hope to leave on Friday, I knew I would need to start handing them out today to catch all of the carers as they rotate duty about every four days. As luck would have it, Luda was on duty. Luda was always my favorite carer, she was so kind to me (she was the delicious chicken sausage woman) I just instinctively liked her from the start. She was so thrilled that I had remembered her and come back to give presents that she hugged me really tight and wished me a happy, healthy life and of course I started to cry, so she hugged me again and I cried more. I shall miss her. How can you miss someone who you have only been able to have stuttering conversations with and you have only known for little more than a month?

So then I came back to the hotel and told my mum about my emotional day and cried. So she cried. Then we talked some more. And cried some more.

So that’s enough crying for a bit, I am trying to stay “dry” until at least Friday when we leave.

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