Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm still processing today, but I'll share what I can.
When Lika came to pick me up, I was nervous with anticipation of what was to come. Thinking how when we came, not quite 2 weeks ago, we were total strangers, only knowing faces. Now, I was getting ready to take her away from pretty much the only people and life she's known, to a new country, new family, new rules, new diet.

I took pictures all along the way to her house- we turn left here, then another left... she may not care for years, but I'll have it, none the less. I had a hard time not crying as I rode along, realizing this was a HUGE last. When we got there, it was the strangest thing. I felt like an outsider watching the show. Most of it was in Georgian, so I wasn't very involved. As I waited for the time to come for us to leave, I felt worse and worse, like I was going to throw up. I don't believe there is any real preparation for something like that. Hannah was ready to go, and extremely happy to be saying "baca baca" to everyone. (Alysha- the use Russian for slang, not usually in everyday conversations.) I had Bae bo say something to Hannah and was going to have Lika translate, but we were all in tears (I suspect even Zhura was teary) and I didn't get the translation. However, it was too much to even think about at the time. Irma wasn't able to say anything. We took pictures outside the gate and cried some more. I hate to think of what we looked like while Zhura took pictures! And then we were off. One outfit and hand braces in a bag, along with a few toys we had gotten for her. The end. How can you adequately describe something like that?

And then we were on our way to meet Giorgi for a fabulous afternoon. I think at some point all the feelings and memories will line up, but not right now. Part of me saw a return to behaviors that had mellowed, part of me wanted to begin to parent her by myself, part of me was relieved we never had to go back to deal with those emotions and tearing her away again, (although she thinks it is a great adventure), and part of me just wanted to be instantly home and a full family. I love this child and never want her to be anywhere but in our family, but at some level, I'm another dae dah to her, just like Irma and dae dah Lika. And yet, she prefers me. I am her forever dae dah. The connection between a foster mom and child may be strong and sweet, but in reality, you're not the final mom. Do you hold back some of your heart so it doesn't break when they leave? Do you prepare them for their forever mom so they don't get attached as much and not break their heart? How can she tell that I'm not just another person taking her to another appointment here and there, giving her fun rides in the pe pe-a? I think she knows. Giorgi tells me she says I am a very good mom and she likes me very much, that she is very happy to have a mommy.

So we met, and went up in the mountains. I'm not sure how far or how long it took, but I'll tell you, we had a lot of conversations with Ilia about tst tst tsts (sunglasses.) It was almost time to take the batteries out of the phone! We drove so high and saw such beauty, I can't really describe. We have nothing like it in OK, although I'm sure there are places of untouched land that are awe inpiring. The camera is limited and, as I told Lika and Zhura, it's like my parents' pictures of Alaska to us- another view of the glacier. No offense mom and dad. They were beautiful. If I could share my eyes, the sights you'd see. Giorgi told me about a time when an enemy, Persia, I believe, had laid seige to a castle on one of the mountains. They were there for almost 3 months, a length of time sufficient for nearly starving the inhabitants. However, one of the people in the castle threw down a live fish to the Persians, and the Persians gave up and went home. The mountains have been an awesome defense for this country.
Somewhere up there is a monastary that's pretty amazing. However, the road was pretty bad. It was only 1 km, so I decided I would carry Hannah on my back and go for it. In flip flops. I've had better moments. First of all, we had to take care of big business on the side of the road. No bathrooms within 15 miles. Task accomplished, and down the road we go. Zhura decided he'd try to drive and came down to where we were. He and Giorgi walked ahead to see if they could go further with the car. Then it was pee pee time, on the side of the road. She doesn't wear shoes, and isn't supposed to bear weight on her ankles. Thankfully, Zhura came back and we rode in the car a ways down the road. However, when the hole is bigger than the tires, it's time to call it quits. Giorgi kept walking for at least 20 minutes before he said he was finally there. While we waited, I did a little PT with Hannah. It was a little game, but I could tell it was some work, too. She's a drama queen, which made it kind of comical. Overall, she liked it. He came back with a video and we made the drive back up. Wow!

Here's what I saw from where we waited.
We stopped at a fabulous outdoor restaurant for dinner. I'd eaten 1/2 a banana and some fried potatoes before we left at 12:30, so I was really hungry. Bad thing when you've got an amazing feast, which I forgot to take a picture of! Hannah is very interested in everything going on around her, which made dinner a great adventure. She was very insistent she do it herself and had very little difficulty feeding herself. She ate quite a bit and didn't appreciate her plate being taken away! When she was done, she was very sleepy, not having a nap today. I got a blanket (up in the mountains) and snuggled with her. She melted into me and was so relaxed. But let there be a sound or a movement, and she was all about it! She doesn't dare miss anything going on! A wonderful thing about the meal was that we understood each other. She expressed her needs/wants and I told her what I was doing/wanted her to do. I worked!

It was sweet to ride in the car with her on my lap, slowly going to sleep. She woke for the picture and to see it, then right back to sleep. She woke when we got home, and lay quietly in bed while I took are of some business with Giorgi and saw Lika out. Then I got her dressed for bed and laid her back down. She was quiet and calm. A little later, she called to tell me she had to do more business. (Portion control is our new favorite phrase, and hide the food is our new favorite game.) No calling for me while I write this post, just a sweetly sleeping child, who has passed a huge milestone.

Now the countdown can begin in hours. All I have to do is finish packing and do a little cleaning. Getting a little antsy to be done with the leg of the journey. I know. Cherish every moment. I am, but I miss my family. It's been a long, long time without them. I know. The Hauflers have been gone 3, and the Urbans were gone 4. Just being honest. I hear Catherine is doing an awesome job keeping the house clean. Looking forward to seeing that.

P.S. I finally realized where my true ancestry lies- Georgia! My nose fits right in with many people here. Not one person has mentioned my nose size. AND I have gained a pound while I've been here, probably more after tonight. I regret I am not a cow, or at least a goat. All those extra stomachs would have come in handy!

1 comment:

Tamara's Mommy said...

Wonderful post. What a great day. I love the picture of Hannah and you at the restaurant. You can really feel the connection between mother and daughter. Congratulations Mama.. awesome job. Beautiful little girl. ;o)