Once our 15-day mandatory waiting period was up, Bill and I were finally able to file the paperwork to continue on with Dylan's adoption. We were assigned a pre-court trial for the following week to meet the judge and establish our official court date. In the meantime, we continued our regular visitation with Dylan at the Delphin baby house.
The Delphin was an impeccably clean, well-run modern structure that housed children from ages 0-4. It had such facilities as a sauna, pool, giant play room, music room, and a nurse's station open 24/7. Children were divided in group rooms according to age. Dylan's group room housed about 8 children and had 2 caregivers there at all times.The place was run with military precision. Everything was done on schedule and by the rule, and God forbid you try to bend the rules even a little bit.
For example, despite the fact that the government kept the buildings at an almost sweltering-hot temperature (see last Sunday's post), the children in the baby house were dressed in at least three layers at all times. On any given day, Dylan would be wearing a short-sleeved onesie, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater, leggings, pants, and two pairs of socks covered by a thick woolen "shoe." There was at least one hat on his head even though we were indoors. If we so much as tried to undo one button, we would get a stern finger wag and a spew of Russian from the caregivers. Even though they obviously cared a great deal for the children, I was TERRIFIED of incurring their wrath!
I found it particularly interesting that the medical care they provided for the children consisted of a mixture of Western medicine and traditional Eastern practices. One day,
an adoptive mother expressed concern to me about some strange markings on her son's back. She lifted his little shirt to expose several bruises in perfect circular shape. I immediately recognized it as cupping, an ancient Chinese therapy in which glass cups are placed on the back and heated to create a vacuum. This is meant to suck out toxins from the body. I never would have known what it was had I not had it done earlier that year, and I never would have imagined it could be performed on babies!
Our visitation consisted of arriving at the baby house, getting Dylan from his group room, heading to a designated visiting room, and playing there with him for the next 2 hours. Invariably, at the end of our session, Dylan would fall asleep in our arms and we would sneak in a 20-minute nap before waking him up and bringing him back to the group room for snack time. Once there, I would have to don an apron and tie a white handkerchief on my head in order to feed him his snack, which usually consisted of either bread or cookies soaked in warm milk.
After snack time, we got to put Dylan down for a nap. This was always a little bit heartbreaking, not only because it signified the end of our visit but because he would usually desperately cling to us and cry as we placed him in his crib. I cannot tell you how many times I felt tears stinging my eyes as he grabbed fistfuls of my hair and pulled my face closer to him in an attempt to get me to pick him up again. Oh, how I wanted to snatch him up and run out of the place with him in my arms!