As I type this, our little boy is sleeping just a few feet away. I have said time and time again how surreal this is, and this trip tops it all. I'm going to attempt to remember everything that has happened these past few days as it's been a whirlwind....
We arrived Sunday night, got settled in and waited anxiously for the morning (okay maybe just me, Luke slept like a rock not to say that he wasn't eager as well!). Monday morning we were up and ready to go a bit early, but were glad to have some time to get breakfast and not be rushed. We've stayed at the same hotel on all three trips now and the one downfall is that you have to use a key to enter and exit your room (for most rooms), and they are quite old and often difficult to lock and unlock. When you leave the hotel, you leave your key at the desk and then must retrieve it before heading back to your room when you return. We often contemplated if this meant there was only one key per room, and also what we would if there was a fire and we couldn't get out of our room. Now we know! : ) We tried to leave at about 7:20 and it was soon very clear that the door was not opening. Then to top it off, the key broke inside the door. Luke called down to the front desk and attempted to tell them what was happening, but they hung up and we didn't know if they understood. No one came, so I used google translate to write "help, locked in room" (yes very dramatic, but we were at a loss). I then held the phone up to the computer speaker and let the google translate lady say it for me. Not sure they got it. In the meantime, I had emailed our facilitator, in hopes that she may check it and be able to call for us. She did and soon we heard people outside of our door with keys, trying to open it. They left and came back 3 times, trying various keys until finally they used an ax to break the door/lock. The door opened to four men in suits and the ax lying on the ground. Since we couldn't communicate they all just left! Finally someone came and gave us a new room and we were able to leave. We were ready to climb out of the balcony and into the next room if it was going to take much longer (we suggested this through our facilitator, and the hotel refused to allow it!). Fortunately God was not allowing anything to really get in the way and we were only a few minutes late.....and a bit hungry.
We made a quick stop to drop off a form and then headed to the baby home! I couldn't believe we were really there again. We waited while a few forms were taken care of and then moved into the directors office. They had asked us to give them the clothes that we brought, so when they brought him in, he was all ready. A couple of caretakers came in, one of them being his favorite caretaker. She was crying and it broke my heart. Seeing as everything felt so surreal, I have not really been so emotional, but I think everyone in the room was crying when they saw her with Levi. She held him so tight, but when he saw us, he smiled and reached his arms out at us! I had hoped he would remember us this time, at least just to ease a little of the anxiety he may have been feeling. At that point, however, he was simply delighted at the dozen or so people that had gathered into the office to give HIM attention!
We were given a gift to Levi from his favorite caretaker, his baptism certificate and a binky : ) His caretaker gave him to me, but took him back at least another 5 times before we left. Everyone was taking pictures of us and talking at the same time. We all moved into the large room where we always played because they wanted to take more group pictures before we left. We took several, talked a bit more and then started to head out. Just about all of the workers followed us outside and to the gate and watched and waved (and cried) as we drove away. I can’t wait to explain to this little boy how incredibly loved he has been in his life….by all of those who cared for him for these first months in the baby home, and by all of those who have prayed for him and already shown him so much love at his new, forever home.
Surprisingly he really didn’t seem nervous or concerned about leaving with us, and his only issue was the car seat : ) We thought this may be a problem, as you are allowed to hold babies on your lap there and we weren’t sure if he’d ever had to ride in a car seat in the past. Even if he had, it was likely only his few trips out of the baby home which all consisted of doctor and hospital visists….not exactly fond memories for him. We held him for a while and then just placed him in the seat and held him tight. He was so precious…..his face so serious as he looked out the windows, taking it all in. He didn’t want to be amused or entertained….he just wanted to sit and watch. We all assumed he was thinking that he was going to the doctors, because once we were out of the car he became his happy, playful self again. We stopped at a store to pick up some food etc., and again he just watched and took it all in. Our last stop was to pick up his passport and then we headed back to the hotel. We were finally able to really care for him! We gave him some lunch, which he did well with and played for a while before he fell asleep. It's so hard to believe he is really staying with us forever now! Whenever I stop and realize what is really happening, I can’t stop thanking God for making a way!
Monday night we traveled to Moscow, which turned into several hours of traveling, and a very late night. I think it was well past midnight when Levi went to sleep (after his first bath : ) ) and almost 1 for us. I kept waking up throughout the night and feeling surprised all over again that he was right there! I remember when Caleb was born I had that same feeling…..I would wake up and suddenly remember I had a baby and then feel so excited all over again. There’s just nothing like it!
Today we had his medical exam at a clinic nearby, which went well and was really quick and easy. We were then able to get an appointment at the US Embassy and get Levi’s visa all in one day which was wonderful! In the process we met 3 other families who were getting their child’s visa today as well. It was nice to talk to them and share stories….I think we all had on our minds the gravity of the situation and how blessed we were to be there.
Now we wait for one more step to be complete, and we pray that our tickets will successfully be changed to return on Thursday rather than Saturday! We are so excited and thankful for this nice surprise and cannot wait to be home!
While I had a few days of thinking that this really may not happen, God was so faithful to remind me of his promises and his deep love for these children. He used so many of you to remind me of that, and to pray on our behalf. We have truly felt covered in prayer and cannot really even describe the peace and assurance we have felt in knowing that God was in control and he WOULD and DID make a way!