Anton (With Mama)
Lena (with Daddy)
This day has seemed never-ending. We got off the train at 7am, and literally haven’t stopped until about 7:00 this evening. There was a LOT of official business… and a LOT of just sitting and waiting around for official business… and it was tiring, especially for the little guy… especially since the little guy and I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours on the train last night.
But adrenaline kept me going. I was ready to meet those beautiful children waiting just a few miles from where we were running around… I couldn’t believe it was about to happen…
How We First Laid Eyes on Them
When it finally came time to meet the kids, we were whisked to the orphanage, where we were seated in a front entry area and told that some paperwork needed to be completed before the children were brought to us.
Carson was walking around, exploring, and Jeff and I were sitting on couches. I turned my head towards some movement at the front entry, and saw a nanny walk in holding the hands of two children… OUR two children… they were whisked right past us and into another room. I reeled my head around to Jeff and looked at him in disbelief.
Then we were ushered into the orphanage director’s office with a bunch of other people: two of our facilitators, orphanage director, the social worker from across town, the orphanage psychologist, and a few others. Lots of Russian was thrown around the room, and Serge, one of our facilitators, said, “Show them the album!” We pulled out the Shutterfly photo book we had made of our family and Serge pointed to the last page, where there’s a picture of our friends, the Carlins, who adopted a son from this same orphanage.
Lots of “oohing” and “aahing” ensued.
Then, before I even knew what was happening, Anton and Lena were brought into the office and lots more Russian was flying around the room… and perhaps some Ukrainian as well…
Anton was so, so shy. He literally hid behind Lena, who was a little bolder, but still apprehensive. Anton has such expressive eyes, and I thought at any moment he would cry, and I asked our facilitators if the kids were scared…. he said they were just shy, especially Anton.
The orphanage director had the kids come around to her side of the desk, and she turned away from us, put her arms around Anton and Lena, and lovingly spoke to them in a whisper, reassuring them.
The two of them both came over to us, apprehensively, and we were able to tell them hello and hold their hands… everyone in the room kept reassuring them. At one point both of them did start crying and it nearly broke my heart. But Serge told us not to worry b/c it was just a lot for them to take in today – you see, before today, they had no idea they would be brother and sister, and that a strange Mama and Papa, speaking a different language, would come to visit.
We went back out to the sitting area with Anton & Lena, and pulled out a few toys, a notebook, and some crayons. Within a few minutes, they warmed up, and I saw a few shy glances our direction, and some smiles. Anton whispered to Lena a lot, showing her the toy he was most interested in. Before we left to do more business, we played a game of balloon volley with them.
We returned in the afternoon, and when the kids were brought to us, Anton was still shy at first, but they were all smiles. They each took our hands and called us “Mama” and “Papa” and we went outside to the playground. They both loved looking at the shutterfly book and asked us lots and LOTS of questions in Russian, which we couldn’t answer, unfortunately. I just told them what I knew in Russian, things like, “this is our home”… “this is our family”… “this is your sister/brother”….
Within just a few minutes, they were both vying for our attention. We played, took lots of pictures, and explored every last thing in the backpack.
Then it was time to go and we said “pakah”… I am interested to see how they react tomorrow morning when we return for another visit. I have no idea how much they understand at this point.
Thank you all for your prayers… we are staying in an apartment that is a 10 minute walk from the orphanage, so that is very good. However, we had to buy a cell phone modem for the computer, b/c there is no internet in our apartment… now we can get online, but things go MUCH more slowly, and video chatting isn’t going as nicely as it was when we had wi-fi in Kiev.
Time to call it a night – more pics later…