Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Russian Adventure...

Here goes...

We took off Friday night from Toronto after sitting in the airport for NO LESS than 5 hours. Anyone who has travelled with me before knows I tend to get a little intense when it comes getting places. So, I insisted that we leave Barrie at 12:30 for a 7:30 flight in Toronto. And for the record, I don't regret it!

We flew overnight to Paris, then on to Moscow after a 4 hour layover. Our driver, Dimitri, picked us up at one Moscow airport to take us to another regional one to wait for SIX hours for our flight to the city where the baby home is (I'm not allowed to post what city we were in online, I'll call it T). Let's just say this was interesting...no one in this smaller airport spoke any english...it was old...it was smelly...and we were exhausted by this point. The funniest part about this airport was the bathroom. Mark got locked in a stall where the toilet had no seat, and he couldn't even call for help because no one spoke his language...too funny (he didn't think so though)!!!

We finally arrived at T at 5:30am. We were met by a co-ordinator and a translater who would be our guides during our time there. They drove us to our hotel and let us sleep for a couple of hours before going to the baby home. We have never slept so hard in our lives!

We got to the baby home around 10:30am on Sunday. This was a secret visit as we wouldn't officially recieve our warrant to enter the home until the next day. With our masks on, Jacob was brought in. People keep asking me about that moment...the only way I can describe it is surreal. I simply couldn't believe that it was finally here. He hopped out of his caregiver's arms and came running over to me to play with the toy that I had brought for him. Poor Mark was stuck helping our translator read medical records! He made up for it soon enough...Jacob played with him a TON that first day (I was a bit jealous!!!). We spent the rest of the day sleeping and reading in our hotel room.

I will take this time to tell you that we DID NOT like the food in Russia. Perhaps it's just the food in our hotel room, but after our first breakfast in our hotel, we thought we would die!! Think big, boiled weiners and cold quail eggs for breakfast....that's just not a smell that I can take before noon!!

Day two we were picked up around noon to do a little shopping in T. The coordinator and translater took such good care of us the whole trip. Our translator walked through the department store with us showing us some great Russian souveniers to bring home. Driving there, we saw a McDonalds too....it was so good to see a familiar sight, so we thought we'd come back there for supper that night.

We had to be at the Ministry of Education at 2:30 to receive our official proposal and warrant to enter the baby home. Our coordinator warned us that they might ask us some pretty tough questions, but it went really well (even our coordinator was surprised!). We did find out that adoptions had been closed in our region due to the H1N1 virus...they had made an exception for us!

We went back to the baby home to play some more with Jacob. I brought some Goldfish crackers for him to try this time. Let me tell you, I think I have created an addict!! He didn't mind sharing with me, but he sure did like them! I'll be sure to stock up on those for my sweet boy! He spent most of our time at his little kitchen...he's going to love cooking with his Mama!! We left there, picked up some McDonalds (Did you know that "Big Mac" and "Coca Cola" are universal terms??), and headed back to the hotel. We were in bed by 7pm!

Tuesday was our last day in T. Because we had gone to bed at 7 the night before we were WIDE awake by 4am... We were being picked up at 10am to head over to visit with our boy. This was the visit where he called me Mama...I've mentioned it before....I will never, NEVER, as long as I live, forget that sweet, sweet moment. It changed my world. Of course I had more food to share...Teddy Grahams this time, which were also a big hit! He is amazing to play with. He'll pull out one toy, play with it, then put it away before pulling out anything else. THat is something I'll have to reinforce at home, that's for sure! He began playing with a toy vaccuum and literally vaccuumed everything in the room, even going under the chairs and tables...what a sweetie!! We then had to go back to the ministry to officially accept the proposal...OF COURSE!!! We were able to spend another hour with Jacob that afternoon before we had to say good-bye. I still don't know how I managed to get out of there without breaking down....the grace of God is the only answer I have.

I do need to talk a bit about the baby home where Jacob has lived...it is one of the most wonderful places I have ever seen. The caregivers are amazing, hardworking people who love this children dearly. They work at the baby home because they love what they do. I could never thank them enough for the amazing things they've done with my son. Knowing he's well-loved while I am away from him is the only thing that's getting me up in the morning. I owe them so much.

We headed to Moscow on Wednesday morning for medical testing. Those tests weren't until Thursday, so we were able to spend sometime enjoying the city. More people speak english in Moscow so we had an easier time communicating. I loved to get to see even a bit of the what the city has to offer. I hope to make it to Red Square during our next visit...of course we'll have Jacob with us then, so it will all depend on what will work for him (and how freak'n cold it is!).

The medical testing was "interesting." I had spent days fretting about the needle that they were going to give me, only to discover that it was an itty finger poke. We saw 8 specialists over the course of the day...mostly they just wanted to know if I had any "complaints." I did, but I don't think they are the same complaints!

We headed home bright and early Friday morning, sad to be leaving Jacob behind, but happy to be getting back to all things familar. We enjoyed two fairly empty plane rides home, so we were both able to stretch out an nap during the 4 and 8 hour flights. I will tell you that during our layover in Paris I spent $22 American on two medium coffees and two muffins...INSANE!!

So, we're back. We are hoping and praying to be able to head back to pick Jacob up at the end of January or beginning of February. Please pray with us, that all things will go smoothly so we can bring our son home! Pray for Jacob. We want him to feel our love all of the time while we can't hold him in our arms.

My heart is broken. God has always been faithful and is always enough, but I am still broken without my son in my arms. I am so grateful to those of you who have left comments, or sent emails, or came to visit, or took me to dinner, or found some way to let me know you're thinking of me. Please keep doing so. While Mark is the most amazing support on earth and going to be an incredible father, he is broken too...we long for our support systems to cover us with love. And yes, we love to talk about our sweet, answered prayer, angel boy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Russia Sneek Peak...

I am back! I promise to post more details soon, but I have a ten-hour time change jet lag to get rid of before I go back to work on Monday and my mind isn't working quite right. Let me just say this...

I will never be the same. I said to myself that I wouldn't get too attached to sweet Jacob. Out of fear, I wanted to guard my heart until he was safely home with us. But when I got there for our second visit a sweet little boy remembered me and came running up to me yelling "Mama" and threw his arms around me. I was done. My sweet boy has me wrapped around his little finger. He has stolen my heart and wiped away every painful moment that lead me to him. He is my world, he is God's goodness and faithfulness exemplified. He is my living, breathing answered prayer. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him and I will be empty until he's in my arms again. There are no words to describe my love or longing for my sweet boy. No words at all...

And somewhere while you're sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever cause this love to lose its hold

- "When Love Takes You In" by Steven Curtis Chapman