We started the day by seeing C. I think one of our favorite things that she does is when she is getting kisses, she will stretch her head back with a huge smile as if to say, “More kisses! More kisses!” making her neck irresistible to just that. She really seemed to love Papa’s kisses today. As he would go in for some smooches, C would lean in the rest of the way to get his kisses. It was absolutely adorable (and made me love Derek even more than I already did, which I didn’t think was possible).
This afternoon, as we were picking up C from her groupa, something told me to offer to show her caregivers pictures of B. Since they have always been at different baby homes, they would never have had a chance to see what her biological brother looks like. All of a sudden, three of them came out from a playroom and gathered around our tiny LCD screen on our camera, “Oo”-ing and “Ah”-ing over her precious brother. In excited Russian, they said, “I see the resemblance!” “He sticks his tongue out just like her!” “He’s such a good looking boy!”(which, of course, he IS!) and “They both resemble Derek!” They all expressed that they thought he would take more to Derek and she to me, which I can see. After all that excitement, they went back into the playroom and quickly returned with rolled up papers. They deftly took the band off the tube of papers and unrolled them. What we saw was what brought the tears to my eyes. They were bright finger-paintings that C had made. As they explained what they were and that they wanted us to have them, they were like proud aunts and “babushkas” handing off the future of this child to me and Derek. I was speechless and so unbelievably moved.
As if that wasn’t enough, they brought in a photo album with pictures of C throughout the months. Some of her lounging in a kiddie pool with her adorable little tongue sticking out. Some of her in the green grass with a garland of yellow flowers in her beautiful, dark hair. It was just so wonderful…
When we brought her to the playroom after all that excitement, all she really wanted was to snack on a biter cookie and be held. If at some point I wasn’t holding her tight enough, she would climb like a monkey farther up in my arms, so that her face was so close to mine. She started saying “mama….mamamamamama…” So, not really “Mama,” but heartwarming just the same.
It was a wonderful day with B too. When we picked him up, the chief pediatrician, who we met with just before meeting B, looked so surprised that he so easily walked to us, knowing how long it takes him to warm up to someone. On our way to the playroom, our translator told us that one of the caregivers was talking about how pleased he has acted ever since he met us. That was so meaningful to hear.
This morning and afternoon, he was ALL BOY! It amazes me how far we’ve all come since Monday. He is so comfortable and confident around us. It was nothing for him to get into my bag of goodies and toys and comb around for something fun.
He even checked out my journal, in which I’m chronicling my thoughts and feelings of our journey.
I think he was testing some boundaries with us today, which is so healthy and such a great sign especially with adoption. He would throw a ball down a hall off of the playroom and look at Papa, seeing if he would get it for him, which of course he did. When Papa would return, B's smile was from ear to ear! After getting even more confident, he would start to run down a hallway, pause, look back at Papa and me and wait for one of us to “catch” him. If he got too far, he would turn around, run at us with his arms outstretched and fall into our arms. It is unbelievable how much our time together has changed since that first day. It’s so amazing. B showed some interest in a rocking horse that is in the playroom. He wasn’t too sure about it though. Papa picked him up, placed him on the saddle and began to lightly rock. B never let go of Papa’s sweater though. He used it as his safety blanket, which is an amazing sign! He was completely full of giggles and laughter today. There’s no sound quite like it.
As wonderful of a day as this was (EVERY day with them is wonderful!), it also began to be difficult. Hearing that B acts so pleased after he gets to play with us and seeing how much C yearns to be held so close to us makes the fact that we have to leave them soon almost unbearable. Not only will it pain us to leave them, but I fear that it will hurt them as well. I’ve been praying that they will be comforted particularly during the time between our first and second trip. I’ve been praying that they won’t think that we are another set of parents that have abandoned them. I pray that they happily and eagerly await our return. Tomorrow will be another wonderful day of play and love with them, there is no doubt. But it will also be one of the most difficult days of our lives.