Tara made a good guess earlier. She thinks the orphanage caretakers are telling Elizabeth that we will be taking her away soon. They think they're doing us a favor, trying to prepare her. But now, every time we come to visit and they leave the room, she freaks out because she thinks it's happening now.
I would have preferred that they just pretend nothing was going to be different for her, until that moment when she simply leaves the orphanage and comes "home" to the hotel with us. See, by then, she might have been comfortable enough with us to let us take her wherever we wanted. But now, she just freaks out whenever she sees us, making this whole thing more difficult than it had to be.
We had a fire drill in the hotel yesterday. A woman knocked on our door and asked us to please go downstairs to the lobby. I told her in Russian that I don't speak Russian [phonetically, Ya nee gavar-YU pa-Russki], so she repeated it in English. She was very polite. When we got to the lobby, of course there was a crowd down there. One of the women from the front desk was very nice, going out of her way to come up to us and say, in English, "Don't worry. It's just a drill." There are some really nice people here, and I try and focus on those.
The younger men seem normal, but there are a lot pimp/thug type men around here. They're usually middle-aged and walk around with a swagger, just daring you to look them in the eye. People like that have barely evolved, and I try to avoid them. Let them think they "won" the staring contest, when in fact it is they who are the pathetic losers, lower than most animals. I'm sorry, was that too harsh? :)
I usually do try and focus on the positive, actually. I might speak negatively or sarcastically fairly often, but am usually fairly positive. I just don't always verbalize it.
The other adoptive couple here, Joel and Nancy, left yesterday. They are great people. They're adopting boy and girl siblings. Unfortunately for them, their return trip will happen in January or February, the dead of winter. But they're from Michigan and Montana originally (though they now live in Phoenix), so they can handle harsh winters. I have added their blog to our "blog roll" on the right.
UPDATE: Recently discovered this map showing the entrance of the orphanage on yandex.ru
similar posts here ... and elsewhere
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Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, Russian Adoption: From Nashville to Astrakhan and Back (PDF). And here is the fictionalized, future "homeland tour" (action adventure) version in various forms: on Kindle, various electronic formats, and in paperback.
This Time Next Week -- Preparation for Our First Trip to Russia -- Travel Day -- The Day Before -- Tuesday (10/2/2007) -- In the Air -- We're in Moscow -- Adoption Videos -- -- First Time in Moscow -- It's Only Monday? -- Check-Out Time -- We're in Astrakhan -- What a Day -- It's a Girl It's a Girl -- Great Visit -- Sights of Astrakhan -- Wednesday in Astrakhan -- Last Visit for a While -- Thursday in Astrakhan -- Another Great Visit -- We're Home -- Back in Atlanta -- Round Two -- Skora Mweh Tam Boojum -- Elizabeth's Room -- Internet Access -- Back in Moscow (11/26/2007) -- Tuesday (11/27/2007) -- Mweh Yeddum V Aeroport Eta Ootra -- In the Air Again -- Back in Astrakhan -- Comments Welcome -- Russian Adoption Consultant -- Russian Bureaucracy -- It's Showtime -- And the Judge Says -- Success -- Went for a Walk -- Much Better Visit Today -- The Day After -- Beet Salad -- Saturday Morning -- It's Going to Be a Good Week -- She's Warming Up to Us -- Light at the End of the Tunnel -- Picture of Us Before Court -- She's Ours -- The First Hours of Parenthood -- More Pictures (12-09-2007) -- Bowel Movement -- Nothing Much to Update About -- Sleep, What a Concept -- Here's Your Update -- 51-1/2 Hours -- Back in Moscow (12/18/2007) -- Pictures of Our Life in Astrakhan -- Just Another Week to Go -- Riding the Metro, Part Deux -- Update to the Update's Update -- Moscow Update Continued -- Can't Leave Early -- To the Embassy -- Still in Moscow -- Riding the Metro -- We're Home! (For Good, this Time) -- A Few Pictures -- Stay Tuned -- Summary of Our Russian Adoption Experience -- Baby Shower -- Doctors Say She's Normal -- Recent Photos of Elizabeth -- Holmes Russian Adoption Videos -- Elizabeth's First Video -- A Few More Videos -- Adoption Videos Updated -- Our Russian Adoption Story -- Our Adoption Story -- Gotcha Day and Merry Christmas