Another day has passed and that puts us one day closer to being home.
Yesterday (Thursday) was an interesting and informative day. We were able to connect with Vika, a nice young lady here in Artemovsk who speaks English very well. (She gives private English lessons to children.) Vika helped us arrange for the champagne factory tour, which we will take this afternoon.
Most importantly, she joined us at the orphanage for 20 minutes of Q&A regarding the lifestyles and habits of the children. Pam and Sherry (recall that Sherry and Justin from south of San Antonio are here adopting Kyle), with Vika translating, quizzed the orphanage workers regarding sleep habits, meals, food allergies... just about everything you can think of. The highlights for Katrina: she goes to bed at 8pm and awakens at 6am; she naps daily from 1 to 3pm; snack times are 10am and 4pm; bathroom times are structured and frequent; she eats everything except potato chips and sweets.
For bathroom times, all the children in her room have their own pot (not potty). They take the pot down from a small shelf, set it on the floor, and then sit on the pot and do their business. (We have not yet witnessed the disposal of the contents of the pots afterward and frankly don't care to.) They can go to the bathroom any time they need to but there are certain times of the day when all children go grab their pot and have a seat (so to speak). We've arrived several times at the orphanage to find all children sitting on their pots in the bathroom.
Regarding eating everything, we were quite surprised to find that the orphanage said "no sweets." We've seen the children on numerous ocassions being fed candy and sweet breads by the orphanage workers. Who knows. Katrina definitely has a healthy appetite, as she is the largest child in her room.
And a sad little story... We arrived yesterday morning at the orphanage and swept Katrina into our arms for a couple of hours of quality time. Then the workers started telling us something that we couldn't decipher. After several minutes of talking very loudly (what all people seem to do when wanting to communicate in a language that is foreign to the other person), we finally called an interpreter who communicated to us that the children were having medical physicals today and we would not be able to spend time with them until the evening. So, we said good-bye to Katrina, and oh how she cried. We had only been there a few minutes and we were already leaving. Of course, it broke our hearts; at the same time, it warmed us inside to know that she wanted so much to be with us.
Katrina sends her love. (First photo: Katrina loves to brush people's hair. Fortunately, Pam has long hair and Stephen has often been referred to as a "long-haired, hippy redneck.")