We lose Laura and gain some insight on our hearing
I got up today and was ready to step out to take a walk around the block before we met Alexei and Laura. Just as I was ready to leave at 9:30 AM, we got an early visit from Laura who had a new person with her. Surprise! Laura told us that Nigmat had moved her temporarily to new responsibilities and therefore she would no longer be our translator. She introduced us to Nourshamal, our translator for the remainder of our first trip. We asked Laura if we would see her again before we left and she said that we would see her and that she would call us alter today. Although Nourshamal seemed nice enough, we were very disappointed to be losing one of our adoption team, whom we have grown to be good friends with by now. Carol and I hugged Laura goodbye then I sat down and talked with Nourshamal, while Carol continued getting ready for our day. Nourshamal was much more quiet, reserved, and formal than Laura. Maybe we just need some time. After all, it is not only her first day with us, it is her first day with our agency and even her first day with the adoption process in general. We talked about where we are from, where we work, etc. I told her what our normal day goes like and explained to her that Karacastek was about 1 1/2 hours away as well as some other interesting facts that I was urprised she didn’t know. Athough Laura introduced her as a shorter nickname, Nourshamal asked that we address her by her full name. This was going to be fun…
The 1 1/2 hour ride to Karacastek was extremely quiet (no chemistry yet). Nourshamal is not as fluent in English as Laura and did not translate what we were saying to Alexei without being asked. Conversely, she did not think to translate what Alexei said unless someone asked. We are now cut off somewhat from our other teammate, Alexei. I made a couple attempts at humor with Alexei (which had been so comfortable with Laura) and it was like I could feel the humor being screened out of my words in the translation. I often would look in the rear view mirror to wait for Alexei to laugh at my jokes. Today, I wasn't getting much reaction, and my jokes are as good as ever! It was really a very interesting experiment in group dynamics, I thought, kind of like a mini-Survivor. We will continue to get to know Nourshamal. I'm sure a lot of what we are feeling is because we are new to each other and we were spoiled by having Laura.
We got to Karacastek and Marina was much better today. She was a happier baby and we even took her outside for a while on this warm Indian summer day. Dory was not here today, so it was just us in the visiting room with Susan and Alan from California (and their son Eddie and newly adopted daughter Cathryn). The visit seemed to go much better, both inside and outside. Susan and Alan are easy to get a long with.
Between visits, we just ate lunch at our apartment, then it was off to visit Alex. Alex was his usual happy self (no sarcasm). He was happy and smiling pretty much beginning to end. After the Alex visit, Alexei took us to the Guinness Pub where we met Jeff and Lynette for dinner. This place was within walking distance of the apartment. Dinner with Jeff and Lynette was nice. It was a little bit of an informational/commiseration session. Jeff and Lynette told us about their court hearing from hell, which was yesterday. They basically prepared for the hearing like their agency told them to. They seemed to be a nice couple that no reasonable judge/prosecutor would feel the need to give a hard time to. They were granted custody, which was the primary reason for the hearing, but they had to put up with two hours of interrogation for this result. The judge did not even say goodbye to them or formally wrap things up as they left. All's well that ends well, I guess, but we learned a few things from them. We definitely need to get Laura to go to court with us. I would not want to go through this with Nourshamal as our translator, who saw her first orphanage today and who we have been explaining the adoption process to. We commiserated about our loss of Laura, then we talked for a while longer and went home.