We made the trek back to the orphanage, which is always an adventure. The road to Tokmok, which is a former Russian military base, is long and straight and due for repair. There's no lines painted on it and it's about 2 and 1/2 lanes wide. The sides of the road are usually lined with livestock who are allowed to roam free; large herds of cattle, sheep and goat, dotted with the occasional donkey or horse. There seems to be no true and fast rules of the road other than stay to the left, for the most part and drive as fast as you can. Yesterday I dared to glance at the speedometer and it read 150 km/hr. I asked Joe what does that convert to, and with a pale face he replied "fast". I later found out it's almost 100 mph. And as if that wasn't terrifying enough, passing other cars is like a game of roulette. With no lines designating lanes, the driver swurves out to the middle of the road, half in the on coming traffic, who moves over just enough to avoid a head on. This nail biting experience happens every few moments for the 1 1/2 ride. I have decided I shouldn't watch what is happening when we drive.
Anyways, we had a meeting with the orphanage director today to ask her any and all questions about Beck. It was very informative but there are questions that will never get answered. His Mother gave him up at the hospital and signed a fake address on the paperwork so despite the efforts of the orphanage, they can not find her. We also learned that he arrived at the orphanage from the baby hospital at 2 months and 3 weeks old, and he has never left the small complex since. Never set foot outside the walls, never even sat in a car. His orphanage director told me that he was happy that we were there and then she said, "and I'm trying not to cry." Indeed, they have a special relationship. I can take comfort that despite everything, he has been loved and cared for.
After our meeting one of the head teachers wanted to show us his cognitive skills. She brought out some puzzles and the 4 of us sat in the pavillion as he demonstrated his skills. He was just playing with the puzzle pieces trying to get them to fit upside down at first, but when he showed us the correct way we clapped and cheered and he flashed a smile showing how proud he was. For every piece he got correct we cheered and he'd smile again. Soon the teacher left us to work with the other children and we continued to play with the puzzles. It felt like we had only been there for a few minutes when the caretaker motioned that it was lunch time. My disappointment must have been written all over my face, I didn't want to stop, we were connecting so well. Through an odd game of chuerades I figured out she was trying to tell me we could stay with him on the playground for 10 more minutes and then we'd need to bring him into the house.
He glanced over his shoulder while the other kids filed out of the playground with their caretaker and for a moment I panicked that this wouldn't go well. I imagine he has never in his life stayed behind while his group and caretakers left him. How would he handle this? To my great pleasure he quickly turned back to us and continued playing. It was a wonderful moment. He rather stay with us than the only people he has known in his life. This was an incredible moment.