Just a warning, this is going to be a long one! The past two days have been very busy and full of things I don’t ever want to forget the details to. This is the one place where just about everything has been documented, even if I wasn’t able to post….so here we go!
Yesterday morning we arrived at the baby home and as we were waiting for Levi to come out, we were given some personal advice/opinions about possibly refusing the referral and trying to obtain a different one while we are here. I was hesitant to include this, but it is too big to leave out. Not because of what was said, but because of the 100% certainty we have that Levi IS our son. This person was not trying to be negative, hurtful or controlling….it was simply their desire to give their personal opinion and to be certain that we have considered all of the possibilities in our situation. The amazing thing is that there is nothing to consider! This may cause us to appear flighty or as if we have not seriously considered the possibilities of the future, but this is far from the truth. We have probably thought of every possible outcome there could be, but none of these things matter when God has asked us to simply follow Him. This is one of the few times in my life I have ever felt such certainty about anything, and I know now what it feels like to have His perfect peace because I am not in control. He has equipped us with the finances and resources to come this far, and I know that at this moment Satan is working overtime trying to stop this adoption from becoming a reality. I have waited expectantly for the roadblocks that he would try to throw our way, but it has more often come in the form of those small doubts, or what ifs that can drive you crazy. Yet time and time again, I have recognized them for what they are and have been able to move forward with peace and joy in knowing that God is in control.
Immediately following our conversation, Levi came out with a caretaker and as soon as he saw us he smiled! We had only been with him for one day and he already recognized us and greeted us with a smile. He looked older as he was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt as opposed to the onesie pj’s from the day before. It’s funny how clothes do that. He was also ready to play…he crawled, rolled over and sat up again and again. He loved playing with the book we made for him and became frustrated whenever it wouldn’t cooperate and stay the way he wanted it…it was serious business! Luke laid on his back and started to fly him up in the air….he loved it and even started laughing…it was priceless. At some points, the woman in an office by the room we were in, would peek out the door when she heard him laughing. I think they all enjoyed seeing him so happy.
One of his caretakers came in at one point and laid down on the mat to play with him. She saw the book we made and read it to him in Russian, pointing to our pictures and being silly with him. (She then asked if she could come home with us and him!) Then she showed us a massage that they do with him (which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy), and also shared with us that she was his godmother. She left briefly and came back with a baptism certificate which included a piece of his hair….a Russian baptism tradition we were told. We played for about 2 ½ hours and when lunch/nap time came, he was more than ready for a nap!
We had a few hours to wait until we could go back so we walked around the town and talked with our facilitator. We learned that although there are about 53 children in the baby home where Levi is, the reason it has been so quiet is because they are doing renovations and many of the children have been placed in other homes for a short period of time. We also learned that baby homes have twice the staff of children’s orphanages. There is a main doctor, and then different nurses, therapists, caretakers etc. It seems to be run very well and is clean and neat with a good amount of resources in terms of educational toys and materials, strollers, etc. During our break we ate at a restaurant and tried some Russian pizza….the primary difference is that there is no sauce, but rather tomato pieces are put down on the dough, then the cheese and toppings.
After lunch and nap time, we returned to the orphanage and learned that Levi had only been able to sleep for about 20 minutes, due to a trip to the children’s hospital for a routine vaccine. He was clearly tired and showed some more emotions, whining and becoming easily frustrated….it was adorable! : ) Honestly, with the many stories I have heard of children in orphanages, I was so happy to see him expressing his frustrations and crying. He was easily distracted, however, and we were able to play for a while inside and then outside as well. We had requested to meet one particular caretaker who we had been told was his favorite, and she came to meet us when we were outside. She immediately took him and squeezed and cuddled him….our facilitator translated for us that she doesn’t want him to go! I can understand why….he is so sweet! All in all we were able to spend about 5 ½ hours with him which was such a blessing.
Today was very different, yet just as priceless. When we arrived this morning, Levi was clearly still tired and not as interested in crawling around. We played with him for a short while and at one point I put him down on the mat after picking him up for a moment and he started to cry…like really cry! I picked him up and he immediately laid on my shoulder, rubbing my other shoulder with his hand. He just wanted to be cuddled and staid that way for a while. Eventually he squirmed his way into a laying down position in my arms and I rocked him for no more than 2 minutes and he was sound asleep. It was so precious….he slept in my arms for almost 2 hours before they finally said he had to eat lunch (they let us stay past when we usually have to leave for lunch and nap in order to let him sleep more). As I looked at him sleeping in my arms (sometimes with his eyes half open! So cute!) I laughed to myself thinking of the advice to possibly look for another child. How could anyone say no? What a precious little life I held in my arms…..I cannot wait to bring him home! Unfortunately I think he had a fever as he was quite warm, and it seemed to be a reaction to the vaccine, so please keep him in your prayers! I know that is typical and nothing to worry about, but I hate that I can’t be there to care for him or know how he is doing. It’s so hard to feel like I am his mom, but to know that really I am no one just yet.
We weren’t able to go back this afternoon as we had to get his passport and visa photos edited at a photo shop, however we were able to go to and old traditional Russian restaurant and see a little more of the city. Tomorrow we go back to spend the whole day with our little boy before having to say goodbye!