Last Day with Alisa :(
I hope that people get what a massively HUGE thing this is. NO ONE, not Russian, not any nationality has ever adopted a special need child over the age of 4 from this entire region. It has never happened! We are breaking down major walls and changing major preceptions. Just by the questions the officials ask us you can tell that they are learning so much from this experience about special needs, Americans attitudes towards it, opportunities in America for people with special needs, family size, adoption in general, EVERTHING. It is going soooooooooo well and we are really being guided by the spirit what to say.
We did find out more info from these officials that may be of great importance to those are following closely behind us. This institution has 275 children and they are considered the very worst special needs. Sooooo not true in US standards. There are kids who are just on crutches because they have a foot turned weird, there are kids with bad birth marks, kids who look absolutely normal and act absolutely normal as far as we can tell, there LOTS of kids with Down Syndrome, and yes there are children with severe special needs. But the majority of kids that at least we see (because they are outside playing or walking to various activities), I would classify (just by looking at them) as very minor to moderate special needs.
There is also another institution like this one that is closer to the city. It is much smaller and the social worker we were talking to has a bad opinion about it. So I have learned that it is not a guarantee that your child will be in this one if you are adopting an older child with special needs. But she kept saying it is tiny so I guess your odds are pretty good.
We have walked in on Alisa's group twice unexpected now to get a hat to go outside. Both times the kids were just in an empty room, on the floor, no toys out, with the caregiver in the chair watching an adult tv show. There was lots of self-stimming going on so I think things are not quite as rosy as they initially appeared. This made leaving harder.
The girl pictured above is Katia. Her and Alisa are best friends and everyone says that they are inseperable. She is an ABSOLUTE ANGEL FROM THE HEAVENS. Totally cute. I really hope that I can convince someone in Utah to adopt her so that the girls can stay in touch. I was thrilled I was able to pics of her and Alisa together.
At the end of our visit it was time to say goodbye. I did not handle this well. I pretended to be asleep in the car because I could not possibly speak and finally I did fall asleep. I don't know why we cannot just go to court now. This waiting 3 months is wrong for everyone involved. Alisa happily said goodbye and then as she walked away turned and said "Tomorrow!" She thinks we will be back again tomorrow. :( We left all the toys and treats we did not leave with Hallie (btw, pronouced Hal-lee) for Alisa and her group.
I will have to wait to post pics from the last day until we get home. We are getting ready now to head for the airport. I plan on writing up a "survival guide" for Novosibirsk post when I get back with lots of pointers on getting around, restaurants, hotel tips, etc for those who follow us. So stay posted ;).