Sorry this post is late, my computer has been under the weather, infact we weren't sure it was going to make it, but it seems to have joined us in the living again... for now. So without further delay, here's the post you've all been waiting for.
We made the nearly 1 1/2 hour drive to Beck's orphanage yesterday morning. When we first arrived we went directly to the orphanage director's office where she briefed us and reitterated that Beck is a very timid boy who takes quite a while to warm up to strangers. I've been told the same by people like Tina. He tends to stay in the background, sizing up the situation and the people. Even our coordinator, who has known Beck for most of his life, admitted that she has never been able to get him to warm up to her.
Our next stop was in Beck's house where the director showed us his bed, complete with his quilt I had made him. She laughed as she explained that he was very protective of it and often checked to make certain it was still on his bed. It is the only possession he has ever had.
We were then lead to the children playing outside. As soon as we walked through the gate we were rushed by a large group of children who smiled and laughed and jockeyed for a position to get picked up. I quickly searched the sea of little faces for the one I had traveld half way around the Earth to see. As predicted, he watched the scene from the furthest point away. As our eyes met he quickly turned away, and then suddenly turned back as a flash of recognition came across his face.
Joe and I sat down and played with the other children while Beck looked on with worried interest. The coordinator encouraged him to come over, telling him repeatedly "Mama" and pointing at me. I kept my attention on the other children as to not put any pressure on him. Soon he stood about 5 feet from. I wished I had some sort of toy that he would have an interest in and then I remembered I had a stack of pictures in my purse, including the pictures of him getting his quilt. I flashed him a picture of himself and he suddenly walked over and dropped himself in my lap. The coordinator asked him where's Mama and he pointed at me in the picture and then she pointed at me. We sat looking at pictures for some time. He asked a question and pointed at Morgan, he had particular interest in her. The caregivers then came over and looked at the pictures, asking me questions in Russian, I think I had the general idea of their questions and hopefully answered them correctly with a shake of the head, yes or no.
The other children then wanted to look at the pictures and it suddenly became a scene like feeding seaguls at the beach and things got a bit out of control and the caretakers took the pictures away from the kids and I put them safely in my purse. Beck then layed back in my arms. As I cradled him he looked up at my and smiled, comfortable in my arms.
But least we forget he's a 2 year old boy, laying in my arms all day wouldn't do and he was off again to find further entertainment. Joe, who had been keeping his distance joined us as we went to find some more fun. Beck went into a little pavillion and started playing with a truck. Joe joined him and started playing with another truck. Suddenly, and to the shock of us all, Beck grabbed Joe's hand and lead him over to a box of toys were the two of them played happily for quite some time. The caretakers and director nudged eachother and watched in complete surprise. Everyone thought it would take a great deal of time to get Beck to even acknowledge Joe, not only is he wary of strangers, men are a sight these kids very rarely see. But he undoubtedly took to Joe. They played intently with a dump truck which was commandeered by Burt (of Burt and Ernire fame). And as if that wasn't surprising enough, suddenly Beck ran to Joe with open arms and hugged him, collapsing in his arms. There was a fury of shocked chatter among the caretakers. It was a beautiful sight.
By this time Hilary and Tim joined us with their beautiful baby girl. Beck ran over to Hilary and gave her a hug. So OK, I was getting a wee bit jealous. So Hilary and I played a little game where we stood about 10 feet apart and he'd hug her and then I'd call him and he'd run and hug me, then she'd call him and he'd run and hug her. We had him running back and forth, his face was lit up as he laughed everytime he was called for a hug.
The 2 hours we had with him flew by and soon it was time for the children to return to their house for lunch. Joe and I helped the single caretaker wrangled all the kids down the walk way to the house. I held Beck in one arm and held the hand of another child. As we walked back a stray dog came across our path. Beck got very excited and started chatting away to me about the dog. I learned from the translator that "rowww rowwww" is "woof woof" in Russian. As soon as we got the kids into the house they quickly went into their routine of potty time. They all quickly went the bathroom, washed their hands and face and dried themselves with their own towel, hung under their name tags on the wall. Beck came running out of the bathroom with the biggest smile and wrapped his arms around my legs. The fact that we were present in his home seemed to excite him and he chatted away poiting out everything to us between hugs. He started to really ham it up, squeezing us tightly and jumping up and down smiling at us. The other kids took their places at the little tables as the caretaker attached their bibs one by one. But Beck was too excited to take his seat. The caretaker called to him several times and he would hug us. Finally our translator returned and I asked her what the caretaker was saying and she replied "she's telling Beck to say good bye to his Mom and Dad." Opps, I think that was our cue to leave. So we each got one more hug and he obediently sat in his chair but never took his eyes off us. I asked the translator to please make sure she explained to him that we would be back tomorrow. As we walked out the room he became very quiet, his smile disappeared as he watched us exit.
So I would say our first meeting was a huge success, far better than I had dared to dream. Leaving him will be undoubtedly hard.