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Having a child means having a cold
Monday, December 17, 2007
Stef and I are just getting over the hump of a wicked cold Andrei gave us. It started just as we got to Moscow and it has been one major sickness. I'm certain that is primarily caused by the added stress of the trip and being first time parents. But at least we're on the downhill side of this one (I know there will be something like one per month for awhile here).

He had his first visit with his pediatrician today. His doctor has a number of other adopted kids in his practice (although mainly from China) which is nice because it's not like Andrei is the first internationally adopted kid he's seen. And the Doc was quite impressed with the level of development our little man is at currently and with his health overall.

We broke up the vaccinations into two visits (one group today and one in a month) so Andrei didn't have to get the needle too often. Although the four shots today did not make him a happy camper. But he responded far better than I thought he would and within about 5 minutes after those pokes he was happy and giggling again.

His eating is doing better although as the comments on the last post suggested, his finicky eating is pretty common among toddlers. The only other issue we're having is nap time. Oh baby, does he despise naps. Our pediatrician told us not to stress about it and if he can just have some quiet time that'll work. Because he has not been napping (just crying constantly regardless what we try, rubbing back, lying in the room with him, leaving the room, etc.) he is extremely tired by bedtime. The benefit being that he sleeps solid for 10-12 hours a night. Which we're so thankful for due to our colds.

This week should be much better for us since we're feeling better and should be able to do more. We've only been able to take him out to the grocery store or Target (and Costco of course, you know me, got to go there). So this week we want to do some park action, maybe a restaurant or two, things like that.

Rules are rules

I made the comment about customer service (or the lack thereof) throughout Russian commerce. And historically I've commented favorably or at least with understanding to the Russian culture (primarily from the Soviet times) which is the cause of their sometimes ludicrous customer service. Although I'm a strong proponent of appreciating and even accepting different cultures especially when surrounded by it ("When in Rome..."), the Russians are making a major error in maintaining Soviet style interactions in the commercial world.

They have to realize if they wish to play in the global free market system, then they must adhere to those rules and not their own. All other countries have their own blend of business relationships or way of doing business, but they all maintain a standard of customer focus. Be it Japan, Germany, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, you name it they all "get it". Russia does not. Period. And their growth as a major economy will suffer as a result.

One of the other funny things that I dared not say while our adoption was in process was how completely random the adhesion to rules are. We would walk thru the exact same security checkpoint in the exact same airport and have completely different requirements both times. And I'm not talking a small change here, I mean completely different.

The referral process itself is sort of random in how rules the MOE insists must be followed are actually, well, followed. Technically you don't get referral information until you meet with the MOE on trip #1. You are told by your representatives (coordinator, translator, etc.) to "Act surprised when you see the photo of your child", because of course you have already received that information. And technically you cannot visit an orphanage without this meeting with the MOE. Although from personal knowledge I can tell you that rule is also broken.

I guess this profusion of broken rules bothers because I have a real low tolerance for hypocrisy. And the Russian way of claiming rules must be followed to the letter and then breaking half of them themselves is kind of annoying. Mainly because there is no rhyme or reason to which rules are broken. Throughout Latin America (and a good part of Asia) there is a significant amount of corruption that is part of the system. Rules are set up but then bypassed with the correct amount of "grease" applied. Although not perfect, the system is workable due to the consistency of the corruption. You can depend on the graft and therefore plan accordingly. Sounds crazy but it works.

With Russia there is little or no way to plan for anything. I don't know, perhaps that's why Stalin's Five Year Plans always failed. Winston Churchill's famous quote about Russia is all too true over 50 years later.

"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
posted by Steveg @ 6:50 PM  
  • At 11:23 PM, Blogger Lake said…

    Good and Bad, good you are getting over your colds, but sorry about no naps. I think he will start to take naps after he is used to where he is. He is used to having 6 or more kids in his room. Maybe you could borrow a few!!
    It sounds like the Russians working for the different agencies just do what they choose. Maybe they are more independent than we think.
    Glad the doctor gave him high marks as far as development goes. He will progress even faster now.
    Love, Granmama

  • At 8:08 AM, Blogger Rob said…

    And the rules differ from region to region as well. Being in the Moscow region, Dede & I really didn't have any info about Liam prior to meeting with the MOE - it was truly what's referred to as a "blind referral." And the photo that the MOE had on his record was just horrible, being nearly a year old and looking like someone had fed him a lemon wedge before snapping the shot.

    We brought back some fierce colds as well and I do agree that the stress contributes greatly to this. For us, I think jetlag was a big factor too. And we're from the Texas desert, so the climate change in itself was something of a stressor, although I felt like we adapted pretty well to the cold.

    At any rate, it's all gravy now. You're right to try to embrace the culture as much as possible and despite whatever griping we've done, the hardships are all a part of this process. Like Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

  • At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Tracey said…

    Glad everyone is getting adjusted. I totally understand the cold thing. I am on week 3 of my third cold/stomach virus between my 2. And poor Brian with no immune system never stands a chance! Think of it as immune boosting.

    As for the previous post regarding eating, toddlers drink a lot of their calories. Bennett eats like a bird yet weighed in at 35 pounds at his 15 month appointment. The kid refuses to eat a vegetable...so I make him drink them. Costco has an all natural/organic mixture called "Go Green" that's like vegetable dust. I put it in his sippy cup and he at least gets the nutrients that way.

    Happy birthday Stef!

  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Glad to hear your son is doing so well. It is so nice to get confirmation from the doctor.

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I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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