We arrived in Eastern Europe on Sunday evening. Our flights were very uneventful – they were all on time and all very smooth rides. I mentioned on facebook that I am pretty sure I am not meant to be a world traveler. That 9 hour plane ride just about put me over the edge. I think traveling over night was so confusing to me. My body felt like it should be sleeping so I kept falling asleep but because we were, obviously, sitting up, I couldn’t stay asleep. I tried 3 separate times to watch the movie (one that my parents had actually just recommended), Now You See Me, but I couldn’t stay awake. Kevin, of course, took it all in stride much better than me. Ha! For the record, I am also not very adventurous when it comes to my food! Kevin – who is the pickier of the 2 of us – has actually been much more adventurous.
Our visits with Levi are going really well – they are basically the same thing every day. We get there around 10, take him from his room, and then we are escorted (Kevin and I along with our translator) by the head nurse to a little room/office to play and get to know him. We hold him, talk to him, play with him, etc and then they bring his lunch around noon. We have fed him lunch each day – we were told he is really picky – we have definitely seen that. He doesn’t like his fruit – each day that is what he spits out or won’t even let me get it in his mouth. He is super mellow – it takes a lot to get a laugh out of him, but he hasn’t fussed at all yet either.
Levi is a serious thumb sucker (and if you know our family, you know that finger sucking is a Swinigan trait!)The staff doesn’t seem to want him sucking his thumb – we can’t figure that out. Almost like they want us to think that they don’t let him, but he is VERY deliberate about it. When he is tired, he rubs his eyes, puts his thumb in his mouth, and snuggles right up – so we know he has been doing this for awhile!
It doesn’t seem like he has anyone in particular that he prefers. The caregivers all fuss over him – he gets lots of hugs and kisses, but he doesn’t seem to care. This is really hard for me. While I assumed this would be the case, it is really sad to know that he hasn’t had one constant person in his life. This is probably why he doesn’t fuss or cry – he learned early on that crying doesn’t get him anything. There was no mommy or daddy responding to his cries. We are praying that this doesn’t affect his attachment to us once we get him home – or if it does, that we will know how to help him.
We took a handful of toys for him to play with while we are – we noticed that he really doesn’t care about them. He is more interested in interacting with us. Our hands, hair, faces, etc – seem to keep his attention more than anything else.
Today was particularly interesting – we had to take him to get his picture taken for the visa. Our translator is also our driver so he drove Kevin, me, Levi, and an orphanage worker to a little Kodak shop. I will post a picture, but he was all bundled up as if he was going out in snow. Since most of you have dealt with arctic temps this week, you may find this amusing. It was probably 40 degrees. Seriously – he was in a snow suit. I am pretty sure we had a pink one very similar for Norah when she was a baby. Also, it is not required that you use a carseat. I am so serious! The roads here are really bumpy and the drivers are crazy – and here we are in a tiny car with a baby and no carseat. Those of you who know me well, know that I am OCD about my kids in carseats. Daphne faced backward until she was 2 1/2 because that is when she FINALLY hit 20 pounds (that was before it was recommended that kids stay rear facing until 2).
Physically, we are really pleased with his development. Don’t get me wrong – he is VERY delayed, but he is actually further along than we thought based on the information we had on him. He can sit unassisted for a few minutes at a time. He is great at tummy time – his upper body seems fairly strong. He can support himself and lift his tummy when placed on his hands and knees – however, he can not get himself onto his hands and knees along. We actually thought that he couldn’t even sit without any assistance – and that was it. However, he is only a little over 15 pounds – at 2 1/2 years old. He has been checked by a cardiologist (several times), endocrinologist, and a kidney doctor (no idea what that doctor is called) and all the doctors said everything looks fine. The orphanage staff just thinks he is picky – as I mentioned above. He will obviously be thoroughly checked once he gets to the states but hopefully, just getting him out of the orphanage and into our home will make all the difference in the world. Oh, and a random side note – he has hair IDENTICAL to Daphne’s hair as a baby. Not kidding. And he has a dimple in his chin – a Leitch trait. He seriously looks like he belongs in our family!
Unfortunately, we can’t post any pictures of Levi on any kind of public page so for now you are going to get a picture of Kevin and me!!! We 3 more visits with Levi before we leave and I can honestly say that it is not going to be easy. Thankfully, we know we have a lot of people praying for us so we are counting on the strength that only God can give to get us through the next 4-6 months before we can bring him home!