Friday, February 21, 2014

2012 Photo Book

When I stopped scrapbooking, I told myself that I'd just create one nice photobook a year. Riiiight.....So, here we are in 2014 and I've finally managed to finish 2012. Better late than never, right? But it is really nice to look back and see how much they've grown!
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Three Years!

Time goes by in such a blur....I can't believe three years ago we were FINALLY liberating our tiny little boy from his orphanage.
Yuri picked us up in his yellow bus for the last grueling ride to Idritsa, down snowy roads and through abandoned towns. If I think about it, I can still feel my frozen feet against the floor, the psychedelic van seat coverings, the strange smell of the wiper fluid de-icing the cracked windshield. The soft murmur of Russian talk radio on his radio.
Yuri's Bus
I spent a lot of time looking at these seats!
For two years we had dreamed about this moment. For two weeks we had driven 2 1/2 hours each way to visit this shy little fellow who couldn't stand to be in the same room as us. We were unwelcome in his life and he made sure we knew that at every opportunity. We were so afraid that he would never warm to us. That we would always be strangers and never "Mama" and "Papa".
On the afternoon of February 7, 2011 the ladies charged with his care, ushered us into the "visiting room" and began to strip him naked. He was brought into that place with nothing and would leave with nothing. With lightning speed, they placed the three layers of clothes we brought on him. Six hands at once, pulling, lacing, tying him into his homecoming attire. One woman frowned and asked if that was all we brought. I'm convinced that in Russia, no matter how many layers you have on its one too few in the eyes of the Babushkas.
He was ushered downstairs to Dr. Anna's office. Dr. Anna who had known him since he was three months old, Dr. Anna who was the closest thing to a mother that he had known in his three short years. She knelt beside him and looked him in the eye. She started telling him where he was going and that he needed to "be a good boy for his Mama and Papa". I wondered how many times she had given this speech and if she felt any particular fondness to Charlie above all the others.
She was the only one that held the keys to his past. When we had first met almost a year prior on our first visit, she recited dates and milestones without ever referencing his file in her hands. She told us how his birthmother had made a treacherous journey (much as we did while visiting) roughly every 6 months to "refresh" her relinquishment. Anna said she wanted to make sure there was no question that he needed a family. She didn't want a technicality to stand in the way of Charlie's eligibility on the database. That speaks volumes to me about her love for Charlie. When his birthmother learned of the fact Charlie would be adopted by Americans, she updated her relinquishment that she felt this was in his best interest. When the Russian adoption world seemed to be against the Americans, his birthmother did everything in her power to squelch any doubt that living in the United States with a mother and father was the best possible thing that could happen to the son she had given birth to.
Dr. Anna gave him one last piece of Russian chocolate (his favorite kind) and sent us on our way. Charlie crying, the good doctor crying, all the ladies crying (accept that big cranky one) and us.....looking at each other like "Are they REALLY going to let us leave with him? What's the catch?" I promise you, until we touched down on American soil, I just KNEW someone was going to re-neg and come chasing us down to take him back.
We loaded that crying baby into Yuri's van and he clung tightly to me for the first time. He only cried until we left the gravel driveway and then fell promptly asleep on my chest.
In that moment, I became a mom. Wow.
Be a good boy.....

One last goodbye....
Our Boy!