Today was a challenging day. Traffic was very heavy, and we didn't get to spend as much time as we wanted. But first, we have a name! His name is Elijah Alexander, and we will probably call him Eli. After much discussion over the last several months, we have decided not to keep his Russian name, and to give him a family name instead. Elijah means "The Lord is God" or "My God is Yahweh". We wanted to give glory and honor to God, who brought him into our lives. Alexander is my mother's maiden name, so it honors her side of the family, whom I love very much.
Today's trip was longer than we had hoped. But as we turned on to the road to Kolumna, we saw a wedding convey. The hoods of the cars were decorated with flowers, and one of the cars had balloons tied to the back.
After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we finally reached Kolumna. I was eager to see Eli. Because we were late, we didn’t get to see him eat lunch as we had hoped. We waited while they dressed him in many layers, and then we took him, along with the caregiver, into downtown Kolumna to get his passport and visa pictures taken, about 7km from the orphanage. His caregiver was very kind to him. He is an amazing little guy! He never cried. He is so open to new experience, and is craving stimulation. He doesn't seem to get overwhelmed, so that's good! He looked all around, and looked out the window, taking it all in. We arrived at a little store that took passport photos in the back. The caregiver sat in the chair and held him while they took the photo. It was difficult to make him look at the camera, because he kept turning his head to look at me! I had the beanie Pooh, and waved that, and they finally got the shots that they needed. R paid them 230 rubles, and then we all got back in the car to go back to the orphanage.
Once we were there, the caregiver took off his outer layers, and handed him to me. We went back to the music room, where we were yesterday. R. got good pictures of him, which I can't wait to share later, and I “read” him the “Touch and Feel Farm” book. He loved petting the soft chick on the cover. Whenever I turned the page, he would go back to it!
I put him on the floor to see if he would crawl. He got on all fours and rocked back and forth (that pre-crawling motion), and then he stretched up on his tiptoes, just like downward facing dog yoga pose! R. got the cutest photo of that. We saw a very brief forward motion, but that was it. I think he had on too many layers. So, he might be behind physically for now, but that will change soon enough. If you hold him in your lap, and hold under his arms, he loves to jump up and down! He wasn’t really interested in playing with the toys. We tried the ball, the stacking rings, and the car. He would play a little, but he really just wanted to sit in my lap and have baby snuggles. We haven’t really seen him cry. Not even in the car. Once, he started to fuss, but as soon as I snuggled him, he put his thumb in his mouth, and he was fine! I will definitely be bringing a pacifier on the 3rd trip for the plane ride home. He is such a sweet boy. So for about 30 minutes, I just held him and talked to him and gave him lots of kisses. I also showed him the“Who Loves Baby” photo album that we had brought, and he looked very intently at all the pictures. At 3:00 the caregiver came to get him, to put him down for his nap, so we kissed him and said “paka paka” (bye bye). So we had 1 hour 15 minutes of time with him, not including the time it took to get his photos taken. The moments with him were the definitely the bright spot of the day. He is so wonderful, and comfortable with us, and we feel bonded to him. Yesterday was a little awkward, because it was the 1st meeting, but today we didn’t feel awkward at all. It was the most natural thing in the world. R is very good with him too.
Then we went upstairs to the break room to wait on his medical records. Our translator took them to the office to be translated, and we will have a copy before we leave Moscow. While we were waiting, we had hot tea and R. ate some cookies that he really liked, a vanilla sandwich cookie with banana creme filling! When we go to the market on Thursday, he’s going to look for some to bring home.
Traffic on the way back to Moscow was just as heavy. We stopped by the office to review the English translations of the Russian documents we will sign tomorrow at the notary. We got back to the apartment at 8:00pm, so it was a long day, and we were drained.
Doug, Kathy and baby Matthew from downstairs came up when we got home. Lisa had cheerios and gerber puffs to give them, and they brought Honey Nut Cheerios (with the Russian label) and fruit cocktail to trade. We have really enjoyed visiting with them and seeing their adorable little one every night.
Tomorrow might be the last day we go to the orphanage, but I won't know until tomorrow afternoon. We are already so attached to Eli, and want to spend every moment with him that we can. He is just the most adorable, sweetest, amazing baby ever!
P.S. Here is one of the last photos of us before we became parents! This was taken in front of St. Basil's Cathedral, of course, right after we arrived in Moscow on Sunday.