Monday, April 14, 2014
If thats the coffee you have, thats the coffee you drink!
Where do I even start?!
Arriving in Kiev was surreal. We saw the Goocher's at baggage claim. They were a beautiful, young couple, headed to the same orphanage as us to adopt their little girl. The driver met us just outside of baggage claim and we waved bye to the Goocher's and scurried to his van. Driving into Kiev the two things that stood out to me were the beautiful women and the graffiti that covered everything! We stopped at a small market where we picked up some misc. items for the apartment. I had to oink for ham and mimic wiping for TP but otherwise it went well! The apartment was decent. We settled in and waited for our appointment with social services to come. Our time in Kiev is a blur. We ate at a cheap local restaurant where one of the waitresses spoke English and they had free wifi. We met up with the Blakes and their new son Sergey and our Facilitator and went to the mall. We visited Maiden and were in awe seeing it in person. Then we took an 8 hour train ride to the region our boys are located.
We arrived late in the night. A women who was renting us an apartment met us at the train station. We drove to our apartment. We had specifically requested something as close to the orphanage as possible. It was close. It was also on the eighth floor and the bottom level smelled like sewage. The elevator was covered in graffiti, the size of a small closet and it felt as if the bottom would fall out at any moment. There were two keys to the apartment door and they were huge old style keys. The Russian woman who owned the apartment showed us around. It was older then the apartment in Kiev but it was clean and we were tired. The next morning we were able to see a little more of our surroundings when we left for Americano. It was a set of four large ten story buildings with a small park in the center. There were a few stray dogs and many stray cats. Every wall was covered in graffiti and looked more like a prison. Marty asked our facilitator if this were a low-income area. She said "No?" as if curious why we thought so. I explained to her this building would probably be condemned in the states. There were loose electrical wires everywhere, the plumbing was sketchy, and that microwave appeared to be the first one ever made. For whatever reason I loved the rawness of the situation. Staying at a modern Hotel would have felt "fake" to me? I wanted to know this place. The realness of where our boys would have grown up had they not been diagnosed with DS and abandoned. As time went on and we were able to see the rest of the city I realized these giant buildings resembling public housing were how most people lived. Some of them drove Mercedes and had designer clothing. Others drove older cars or walked, but they all lived in these graffiti covered buildings. In the morning they would walk their children to school and I would watch them from my eighth floor window sipping my instant coffee. As our facilitator Halyna would say... "if that is the coffee you have, that is the coffee you drink!" One particular mother stood out to me. She had crutches and suffered from cerebral palsy possibly? She would walk her son to school much slower and the other mothers would pass her up as she took breaks to catch her breath. Her son was perhaps 5 or 6 and he would run around picking up sticks or petting a dog and then run back to hug her when she stopped to catch her breath. He didn't hold her hand like the other children because she had to hold the crutches. I looked forward to seeing them in the mornings. There was something incredibly touching about this boy and his mother.
The day we met our boys, we were nervous, scared, excited. We met with the orphanage director who spoke Russian. She was nice enough but I could have screamed when she made small talk with our Facilitator while we anxiously waited to meet the boys. The first room we went to was Edgars. When they brought him out he was so tiny and he came to me right away. He had been eating lunch and was very agitated these strangers had taken him from his food. I tried to see his face but he had it buried in my shoulder along with a fist full of cracker. He began screaming and kicking and the nanny quickly grabbed him back and that was it. No warm fuzzies. No tears. It lasted 60 seconds. Next we went to meet Dunham. This meeting was a little better. He looked just like his pictures. Maybe a little blonder. He smiled right away and laughed. We could see that his nanny's were very nice and they liked him a lot. They said we could take pictures and seemed to be encouraging us to adopt him. That was it. No Hollywood movie there either! We scurried off to do paperwork, still in shock. We made it back just in time for our second visitation with the boys. We took them both outside together. Dunham was an absolute angel. Just perfect. He was very quiet and curious. He smiled and laughed. Edgar whined and growled. He threw himself backwards as hard as he could, slamming the back of his head on the cement. He did not trust us and he was letting us know. I was holding Dunham and selfishly was relieved because I had no idea what to do with Edgar. Marty saw my fear and uncertainty and he took the lead. He placed Edgar in the swing and began tickling and playing with him. Edgar grabbed the empty swing next to him and hit Marty in the head with it. Marty laughed.... Edgar laughed.... and so began the bonding. My fear started to slip away as each visit with Edgar got better and better! Each visit he seemed more and more alive! The glazed look would disappear when he saw us. He still preferred Daddy but we decided to take turns visiting the boys and Edgar loved his one on one attention! He began to trust me and realize I wasn't like the other "Nanny's". I would dread bringing him back to his room. His nanny was younger and clearly found him irritating. She would grab his arm and drag him into the room. Always saying something Russian in an unfriendly tone. He would fight her immediately. Refusing to walk, crying, it was heartbreaking.
The last visit with the boys was the best. Dunham was his usually Angelic self. and Edgar was so playful and funny. He kept running back in forth between daddy and I getting hugs and kisses. We met with them together this time and Edgar came over to his little brother and touched his leg and cheek. We love these boys and cannot get back soon enough to bring them home! Right now we are recovering from all the traveling, physical and emotional exhaustion, and the colds and stomach bugs we picked up. We are also enjoying spending time with Baby Gage and the older kids as we await our court date. God's perfect timing got us home for Gage's 7 month Birthday and to see his second tooth pop through this morning (: He is a good God.