Saturday, August 1, 2009

Report from Krakow

Hi All!

Well, we are settled into our apartment in Krakow with Klaudia. (That is, if you can call no laundry, pigeons roosting above our back door, no air conditioning, no bathtub, a horrible 5 inch mattress of a bed, a hot water heater that you have to periodically turn on, and constant construction, including jackhammering, outside our window throughout the day, settling in).

Other than that...we are doing well. Klaudia is the sweetest, and has gone through a lot this week. She is confused, but is doing well. She is eating fine and sleeping pretty well (despite the crazy dreams or anxiety she has that make her toss in her sleep). Favorite foods include bananas, McDonald's hamburger bun, fruit juices, this Polish cheesy fruit thing, yogurt, and cereal. She also eats this milk/formula stuff, but I don't think she likes it all that well.

She refuses to drink out of the bottle we brought, even though it is very similar (glass) to the orphanage's bottles. She also refuses to drink out of the sippy cup we brought. I take total blame for that one, because I was the one who decided to bring the neon green and hot pink one. The interim resolution is feeding her juice and milk with a metal spoon. She takes it just fine then, it just takes 30 minutes to drink a bottle!

Despite my already apparent shortcomings in the motherhood department, Klaudia has completely (at least for now) attached to me. She wants me to hold her all the time...and I mean ALL the time. We can hardly put her down on a blanket, crib, stroller, to Ryan, etc. without a bit of hysteria (complete with arching the back, shrill screaming, etc.) As soon as I pick her up, she is calmed immediately. This is a great problem to have right now though. She is feeling attached, and we can work on detachment another year.

It is just a bit frustrating in the past day or two that she hardly lets Ryan hold her. That will change, no doubt, just hopefully sooner than later. She is very interested in everything he does though. She barely lets him hold her, but when he leaves the room she watches the door until he comes back.

Our last few days have been busy trying to help her feel comforted and trying to best meet her needs. Our next days are more of the same, and that is alright with us. We are very fortunate to become her parents!

Speaking of becoming her parents, that is scheduled to happen on August 11, at our final court hearing. Prior to that, on August 5, we have a visit from a social worker to see how things are going. She will report back to the judge and recommend her placement with us.

Three photos are attached. The one of Klaudia on Ryan's lap is Klaudia viewing the Wiggles (and a dvd for that matter) for the first time. She is wide-eyed to say the least.

Another photo is leaving the orphanage. I debated whether to put this one in, but is a major part of the journey. That was probably the hardest part. I felt so mean to pull her away from all of her comforts, and everything she has. They even asked us to bring clothes for her to change into so that they could keep the clothes for the other children. They gave us some old pjs for a familiar scent. Other than that, she left with nothing but her new parents whom she barely knew.

The orphanage has more children there than beds...they need to place the children in homes and know it is the right thing, but that doesn't mean that the sisters there don't get attached. It was difficult for Klaudia's main caretaker to say goodbye...she even ran to the front of the orphanage as we drove away and was waving with a huge image I will never forget.

The last photo was taken a block away from our apartment. Krakow is covered in graffiti. It is a stark contrast to the architecture. But we had to capture this one example.

Jen, Ryan & Klaudia


CarrieJ said...

You can really tell how tall she is in the last photo! Hopefully, she'll start taking to Ryan a bit more soon. He's so good with kids! He'd probably be a great comfort for her. Were there any men at the orphanage? What a great story you will have to tell her when she's older about how you came to take her home.

kelly said...

Yea!! Congrats on your baby!! Beautiful pictures :-) It sounds like things are going really well! I remember how hard it was to leave all those other beautiful children. Can you tell Magda that Lucas says hi?

C Speh said...

Good luck. Such great pictures. Sorry the good-bye was so hard. Tell Ryan with time it will come - you are so much more familiar to her - because of the sisters than he is. We had a someone opposite problem because her favorite caregive was the physical therapist who was a guy. She bonded much more quickly to my husband. But the last several days it has been so much more even.

Enjoy the bonding.

If you want to consider changing apartments let me know. I can find the number of the place we stayed in a year ago. Nice two bedroom, living room and one block from the main square. It was relatively inexpensive as well.

Cherie said...

What an exciting update! We are praying for you. We remember how hard it was living in the "ghetto" in Warsaw so I feel your pain. No AC and no washer meant handwashing every night. We had to make special ice cubes with bought water also since we were told not to drink the water in Warsaw. Once out of the apartment we went right into a Marriott in Warsaw and had a 2 floor apt with a kitchen there. It was great with our son!! Klaudia is beautiful!!

Cherie said...

P.S. I forgot to say - please say Hello to Magda from Brooke, Cherie, and Mateusz from St. Petersburg, Florida. She made our trip a great success!

Shelly and BJ said...

Congratulations on being one step closer to becoming a legal family!

Our son had a difficult time with bottles too. Try making the nipple hole a little larger. Michal's had to be quite large actually due to his cleft palate and the thickness of the cereal. He also had difficulty drinking from a sippy cup, so we purchased the kinds that have the removable stopper in the lid of the cup. As a result of having trouble with sippy cups, he went straight to a regular cup shortly after we returned from Warsaw.

We remember the horrible mattress all too well. There is much that I miss about Warsaw, but not that.

Jeff and Debbie said...

Congratulations, August 11 will be here before you know it! And then you'll be home and on familiar grounds. Wishing your new family all the best.

Jeff and Debbie said...

Congratulations, August 11 will be here before you know it! And then you'll be home and on familiar grounds. Wishing your new family all the best.

Dawnyel said...

My heart is so happy for your family! I would love to be able to speak to you. My husband and I are thinking of adopting from Poland. He is 50% Polish and my mother-in-law 100% is a fluent speaker. We have two boys and are wanting a girl in our family. I've done a ton of research, but do not know which is the best route to go and if our expections of a healthy 1-3 year old girl can be met. If you wouldn't mind emailing me at, then I would be forever thankful.


Congratulations! Enjoy every minute of your time in Poland. While it may be a challenge at times, you'll miss it when you return :)

Definitely try a cross-cut in the bottle nipple to start as most often the bottles used in the orphanages allow for a fast flow and the children don't develop the muscles needed to suck. Our girls actually learn to drink from a straw before they could manage a sippy cup and never figured out the slower flow bottles.

God bless!