Monday, September 28, 2009

Meeting our Son

Today was a wonderful, tiring, emotional day. Today was the day we met Ivan! Of course, it is such a flood of emotions, and being a bit jetlagged, and a bit carsick from the driving, I can just praise God that He gave us the strength to get through it!

Today started out very relaxing. We go about 7 decent hours of sleep and had a leasurely morning. There was a wonderful buffet at the hotel. We ate to our heart''s content, and we brought back some small sandwiches made of meat and cheese from the buffet to have for lunch. So glad we did that! It was a long day before we were able to eat again - about 4pm! But it was a nice snack prior to dinner.

We then met up with our coordinators and the other family to head over to the Ministry of Education. We had to meet with a Psychologist and the Minister of Education. The other couple went first, and Chris and I waited for about an hour and a half in the waiting area. The psychologist conducted a two hour interview of us, about our parenting styles, discipline methods and time management. She was very happy with our "method of parenting" and said we will be very successful with adopting a second child. We also had some psychological evaluations using colors, drawing pictures and interpreting pictures. A long process! Then we were quickly ushered over to the Minister of Education and interviewed briefly. We were expecting a long interview, but they were worried we wouldn't have a good opportunity to meet the child since the day was already going so long. So luckily she only asked a few questions, and offered us Ivan! YEA!

Then we literally ran out of the office, jumped in the car and raced over to the orphanage. It was already 1:30pm and we only had until 3pm with the child, so time was important. They were telling us that normally we hear the complete medical report when we get there, but since time is so short, they will ask if we can just see the child, and our coordinators will write all the important info down for us. We got there and went straight away into a playroom. They asked we take our shoes off to keep their floors clean. We had two translators and our adoption coordinator with us. We were joined in the room by the Lawyer for the orphanage, another legal council person and the Head Doctor. Then the neurologist came in, and then finally Ivan! He came in walking holding a finger of his primary caretaker. She described him as very active, but very kind hearted. Not aggressive at all. Has a full range or emotions, but very happy most of the time. Wears a diaper for bed and nap. (I was told that diapers are expensive, so as soon as they are able to sit up they put them on a pot and certain parts of the day (after waking up, after breakfast, etc.) When he first came in, I think it surprised him to see so many adults! And then there was these two strangers who spoke a completely different language. We came up to him on the floor and his little eyes welled up with tears. Broke my heart a little, but I was happy because our Doctor told us that even tears can be a good sign that he is reacting to his environment. So Chris held him a little. Then I picked him up and walked with him. He seemed to like this and the tears receded. Then I put him on my lap and bounced him a little. I pulled his arms out and he started smiling! That was the second thing my Dr. said was so important was any positive emotional reaction to his surroundings. I was at peace at that point. Chris was concerned a little more about his mouth always being open. Always open! I wasn't worried - thinking really it was okay because he is teething and drooling a lot from that. But the psychologist mentioned that he explores his whole world through his mouth first...

We were told he was diagnosed with a hearing impairment at some point. He had many ear infections early on, and they now think that was the cause of temporary hearing loss. Today, they believe his hearing is perfect, but for a few months, it wasn't. And that causes them to compensate in different ways. This orphanage has a rehabilitation program to deal with different types of developmental delays, and this one tried different things to envoke positive emotions and reactions to different situations. The psychologist believes that in order to explore his world with sub-optimal hearing, he depended on his oral senses to learn. So everything went into his mouth. We noticed this today too. The camera and the elephant went in his mouth. But every specialist says this will be no problem once he is home and receiving lots of love and attention.

We also had him just before his naptime, so he was getting tired at the end of the meeting. He just cuddled up and buried his little head in my chest and clung on to my arms with his hands. It felt so nice! I was also very happy about this, because many institutionalized children don't receive affection well, because they aren't used to it. He seemed to crave it!

Then I had to give him up to one of the workers. It was hard, but I knew we'd be coming back tomorrow. So I handed him over and we left for the hotel.

Tonight we met with our coordinator, and she gave us lots of information from the orphanage. But she didn't want to overwhelm us, so she put off most of it for tomorrow. We going to get to see him between 9-10am tomorrow and then again from 1:30-3:00pm. She suggested we bring the Orphanage Head Doctor some flowers since it is her birthday tomorrow. We also mentioned we'd like to bring a gift of supplies as well.

Well, I better head to bed, I have to get up in 5 hours for another long day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sleepless night

Well, I'm not sure what's going on, but I cannot sleep tonight. I am leaving for Russia in just one week. I think the anxiety is setting in. Up until today, I have been at complete peace over the whole situation. I described it to my "girls" at bible study today as almost a guarded feeling or "out of body". I know that my son is there. I know I will be meeting him and then I have to leave him there for two more months, and I just felt peaceful about it. I think it's the Lord's way of keeping me sane when I know I have to walk away and leave him there for a couple more months.

Tonight I cannot sleep. But I don't think it's the baby that has me restless. I think it's the trip. Today I had to go to the bank and get cash, which was harder than you might expect, becuase the Russians won't accept any american money that has a spot or blemish. So I spent almost an hour looking over $100 bills with two tellers saying, "This one is too folded", "This one is too old", "This one has a stamp on the back", etc. So stressful! Then the fam and I went to the mall to look at travel accessories (a nice daypack, a money belt, etc) to keep our personal belongings safe while abroad. Now my mind is swirling with plans and preparations...Did I get enough cash? What clothes should I pack? What do I bring the baby? Will I have all the right paperwork? Will our visas return on time? What if I forget copies of important papers? Did I order enough pre-packaged food for the trip? Will I leave enough info on Emily for Grandpa and Grandma to take care of her???

But, I know in my heart that I am not called to worry. When it comes to food and clothes, consider the birds and the lillies...Does my God not care more about me than the birds and flowers??? When it comes to my preparation, am I not trusting that God will prompt me to be prepared?

I say this not in a beat-myself-up sort of way, but rather in a remember-that-God-is-in-control-and-not-me sort of way. I need to remember that God has taken care of every detail so far, and he is not going to let me fail now. As long as I remain diligent as an ant. Yes, an ant.

Proverbs 6:6-8
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
8 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.

I will reap the benefits by remaining diligent. My harvest will be the completion of my heart!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To my son...

Do you walk?
Do you run?
Have you been out to play in the sun?
When you drink your milk does it dribble down your chin?
Or do you keep it all in?
Do you have a favorite toy?
Do they tell you you’re a good boy?
Do you sleep with a blanket or do you wiggle out of your swaddle?
Do you cry because there isn’t enough in your bottle?
Will you let me hold you when I get there?
Will you look in my eyes…touch my face…pull on my hair?
Is your heart soft and able to feel
Small emotions so real?
Or if it’s hard…will it soften?
Will the short life you’ve had be remembered or forgotten?
Will you embrace a whole new life?
I can make no promise that it will be without strife
But I will pray for you each day
As I do now, each day I pray
That you would accept
…a new land
…a new language
…a new home
…a new family
And the God I love who ordered every step of our journey
As I prepare to come meet you, I look back at the path I took
And from the second I saw your face, I knew at first look
That God made you for me;
You were created to complete our family
And I loved you before you ever were
And I’ll love you forever and ever
My precious son.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meeting my son...

We got the date...At this time in two weeks, I will be in Russia preparing to meet the child that may very well be our son for the very first time! This is the first trip where we meet the child and formally "accept" him. I honestly don't know if it would be within me to pass him over. This is why I am asking people in my closest circles to pray for discernment and wisdom for Chris and me. We get to spend a little time with Ivan and then we have to decide if he is the child for us. It is our opportunity to evaluate him, make sure he is healthy and developmentally on-track. As we are not doctors, we are relying on the limited medical info for him which for the most part indicates he is in great health. We are to expect that this meeting may only be an hour! I don't know how I am going to put him down and walk away. After this initial meeting, it will be another 6-8 weeks before we can adopt him!

This trip is very short - we will only be gone about 4 1/2 days! We will be traveling for half of it, and from what I hear, we will be rushing for the other half. We don't completely know what to expect, except to know it will be the adventure of a lifetime.

I praise God for is goodness and amazing orchestration of the whole process. When I sit back and reflect upon every twist and turn, every single act of this process, His fingerprints are left upon every tiniest detail! I am trusting Him now to help us complete the process, and funds are something that are dwindling away here at the end! I'm not sure how God is going to make it all work, but I am confident that He will!