It’s “Gotcha Day!”
We began by stopping off at a Russian supermarket to buy diapers, wipes, food, juice and other items. My stomach was in knots as we made our way down the snowy roads to our baby girl’s orphanage.
As we walked up the slippery path to the main door, I paused, turned to my amazing husband and gave him a kiss. “Are you ready to be a mom?” he asked? “Yes,” I replied without even thinking about it. “Are you ready to be a dad?” “Absolutely.”
When we got up to the third floor and saw our baby girl everything seemed to happen so fast. The caregivers, who were teary-eyed at her leaving already, had dressed C in a beautiful burgundy dress with a huge white bow. It means so much to us that they care for her as much as they do.
I quickly changed C into her outfit, which we brought from home. Derek went back to her group’s room and snapped pictures so that down the road she can see where she spent the first year of her life. We left out gifts with the caregivers and they gave us some last pieces of advice: “She loves bread,” “She’s used to being spoiled,” “She’s a very smart girl,” and well wishes: “We wish you a full and happy life,” “take good care of her!” As we were heading out, the caregivers stopped us and gave us a chocolate bar and wished us “Happy New Year.” We bundled here up and we were off to get her brother!
Celia fell asleep on the car ride to B’s home.
The three of us (plus our driver/translator—have I mentioned how AWESOME he is?!) got out of the car and trekked through the snow to B’s orphanage. We stopped at the director’s office and she suggested that C not g up to B’s group because she might get sick. Derek stayed in Dr. G’s office (the baby home directors are also pediatricians) with C while I went up to get B. After he was changed into the clothes we brought him—and I was chided for not dressing him in tights—our translator took some pictures of his group’s room, we handed out gifts and said our goodbyes and we went to join the rest of the family!
Our driver opened the door to Dr. G’s office and in B and I went. I swear, C’s face lit up the second we walked through. Bennett and Celia… Alim and Nargiza… brother and sister were united at last! Celia was simply enamored with her biological brother—which truly touched my heart, because I was always so enamored with my late brother, Trevor. Bennett on the other hand must have been thinking, “Who are you and why is my Papa holding you?” Ah! I can’t wait to see how their relationship blossoms. There is something truly special about a brother/sister bond—especially one with a backstory like this one.
Before we left, Dr. G insisted we feed them a small lunch. Celia was all about it. Bennett was nervous and it took him a few minutes to come around. Soon enough we were off to head back to our hotel! The drive took a bit longer than expected due to traffic and both of our kiddos got a 45 minute nap.
When we got “home” to our hotel, we played and played and played. Bennett was into EVERTHING! We will DEFINITELY have our hands full with this two-year-old boy! We took several walks around our hotel floor and looked out windows. It still amazes me that they are seeing SO much for the first time. First boat, first line of traffic, first view of the world from 6-flights up… Bennett was looking at his photo book and saw a picture of me, pointed, and said “Mama.” He then flipped to the picture of Derek and said, “Papa.” Papa and I both teared up. B was so quiet at every visit up until this point. Now he just talks and talks! I guess his caregiver was right, aybe he was just saving all of his gab for us!
We were able to get onto Skype and talk to all the grandparents at one time. (They all met at a McDonald’s while Derek’s mom was on a work break.) There were tears all around.
After the call, we fed them dinner (I sure hope we’re feeding them enough. For an inexperienced parent, it’s hard to tell). In a word, it was MESSY! We’re still trying to figure out the best way to get them to drink. They are used to drinking out of small tea cups. Hopefully either they’ll catch on to the sippy cup or we’ll learn how to help them pour the drink into their mouths. Then it was bath time. B LOVED his bath and could have played in there for hours! C… not so much. The poor thing cried and cried. We made it through though!
After a short visit from our in-country coordinator, we got ready for bed. Derek read them part of a “Soviet” folk tale as we rocked each of our adorable and cuddly little ones. Then I popped in the “Praise Baby Lullaby” Baby Einstein DVD that a dear friend gave us. B was entranced! C enjoyed it as well. The first song that played was “Indescribable.” Listening to the words, rocking with OUR babies in our arms at last, brought tears to Derek and my eyes. I don’t think we’ll be able to hear that song again without thinking of the indescribable miracle God granted us. God loved B and C so much that he had their parents fly more than half-way across the world (three times!) just to get them. And God loves us so much that he brought us all together in the most PERFECT way.
And then, we put them to bed.
Dear friends, I say goodnight to you as a mother who feels blessed infinitely more than I deserve. I have two beautiful, smart and lovable miracles to call my own. I truly don't feel like I know what I'm doing, but--for the first time in a long time--I like that feeling. God has had his hands in this for years and years. He's got us this far, and I can't wait to see where he takes us now! We are all in the best of hands! I'm SO GRATEFUL!